Aug 18th, 2009 — Roseville, CA

Engineering Students to Use State-of-the-Art Technology

PASCO Bridges Gap Between “Toothpick Construction” and Computer Simulation. New PASCO Structures System Brings Sensor Technology to Building and Testing Structures.

Hundreds of university engineering students heading back to school will be building trusses, bridges and cranes with a new solution from PASCO Scientific. The PASCO Structures System fills the gap between “toothpick construction” and computer simulation by bringing state-of-the-art sensor technology to building and testing structures.

Many of today’s engineering students have been constructing buildings with everything from toothpicks to LEGO® bricks since they were children. The PASCO Structures System supports trial and error construction with the addition of state-of-the-art technology for electronic measurement. The Load Cell & Amplifier Set is what separates the PASCO Structures Systems from other products on the market because it enables load cells used for tension and compression measurement to be built into the structure. A load cell can be substituted for any I-beam, so there is no need to disassemble a structure in order to add instrumentation or change its location. The load cell amplifier measures the signal, calculates the force and sends a digital signal to a computer when it’s connected to one of PASCO’s PASPORT® sensor interfaces. The load cell amplifier can accept up to six load cells at a time.

“The PASCO Structures System is a very efficient way for students to learn by doing and correct mistakes or miscalculations along the way,” said Jon Hanks, a PASCO product development specialist and designer of the system. “Because it’s reconfigurable, students have the opportunity to experience real-world design, building, and testing of a large variety of structures, including bridges, cranes and even working catapults. They can measure static and dynamic forces using load cells, and still have time to redesign and test again without disassembling and rebuilding the structure.”

The PASCO Structures System consists of the Truss, Bridge and Advanced Structures sets, all of which include lightweight, sturdy and easy-to-assemble I-beams designed to take a structure from idea to reality in a short amount of time. The Truss Set includes all the materials needed to demonstrate the properties of I-beams and teach the basics of trusses. The Bridge Set helps students investigate a number of fundamental bridge structures, and includes a road bed and car for studying dynamic loading. The Advanced Structures Set doubles the number of I-beams and adds axles and pulleys for larger bridges and cranes.

The PASCO Structures System works with the PASPORT line of interfaces, including USB Link, a single port computer interface; PowerLink, a three-port computer interface; and Xplorer GLX®, a four-port computer interface and graphing datalogger. Students can use PASCO’s DataStudio®, the SPARK Science Learning System or SPARKvue™ desktop software to display, graph and analyze data in real time. PASPORT interfaces, DataStudio, the SPARK Science Learning System and SPARKvue are sold separately.

For more information visit or call 800-772-8700.

PASCO has been designing, developing, and supporting innovative teaching and learning solutions for K–12 and higher education since 1964. PASCO’s team of educators, scientists, educational researchers, engineers, and many others is committed to the advancement of STEM education around the world. Today teachers and students in more than 100 countries use PASCO solutions.

Media Contact:
Brett Sackett
Domestic Marketing Manager