HOW STUFF WORKS
QUIZZES

Quiz: What Jenga Teaches Us About Structural Engineering
by Staff
Jenga is a simple game of wooden blocks and gravity, until you play against a structural engineer. Test your knowledge of the game and of the engineering principles that win it.

• True
• False

• build
• fall down
• crash

• 48
• 54
• 60

• 40.6 feet
• 52.3 feet
• 60 feet

• True
• False

In structural engineering, what is the name of the downward force supported by walls and beams and ceilings in a building?

• gravity
• standing weight

Which of the following is the most accurate definition of a dead load?

• The static forces created by all of the structural elements of a building, like steel beams, rivets, windows and dry wall.
• The load created by only the steel skeleton of a building
• The combined force created during the collapse of a building

Which of the following is NOT an example of a dynamic load?

• An earthquake
• A plane crashing into the building
• Foundation settling

What is a popular type of foundation when building a tall structure in loose or shifting soils?

• pile foundation
• footings

Which of the following is NOT one of the central functions of a foundation?

• To make room for a basement
• To transfer and disperse load directly into the soil
• To anchor the home to the earth

In structural engineering, what's the term that indicates the amount of force necessary to pull apart a type of construction material?

• tensile strength
• fail force
• breaking point

• True
• False

How much weight can a 10-centimeter diameter steel cable hold?

• 5,000 pounds (2,268 pounds)
• 10,000 pounds (4,536 kilograms)
• More than 15,000 pounds (6,804 kilograms)

What is the name for the rotational force created when a lever arm is turned around a pivot or fulcrum?

• moment
• torque
• All of the above

In structural enginering, which of the following statements is true?

• The closer together the supports of a structure, the more stable the building.
• The farther apart the supports of a structure, the more stable the building.
• One support is always more stable than two supports.

• True
• False

A top-heavy structure is MORE or LESS stable than a bottom-heavy structure in an earthquake?

• more stable
• less stable
• equally stable

In an earthquake, which types of vibrations are the most likely to cause a structural collapse?

• Vertical (up and down) vibrations
• Lateral (side to side) vibrations
• Both

What is D'Alembert's Principle of inertial forces?

• An object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.
• When an acceleration is applied to a mass, the mass opposes that acceleration in the opposite direction
• A force applied to a mass will move the object an equivalent distance, minus friction
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