Uncrushable: How a 2,700 paper tube structure stands up to stress

For the National Building Museum in Washington DC, Columbia Engineering runs a crush test on a prototype of “Hive,” an interactive installation that is part of a series of temporary structures inside the museum’s historic Great Hall.

Civil Engineering's Carleton Lab worked with architects Studio Gang to measure the carrying capacity of an assembly of three 10-foot cardboard tubes interlocked with three 4’10” tubes — which topped out at nearly 15 feet. After building and placing the structure in the lab’s Southwark Emery Universal Testing Machine, the team put the structural limits of both the connections and tubes to the test.

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