Pasta Mobile Build Ahead

Physics Olympics

Design Event


Objective:    To construct a vehicle entirely out of dry pasta and glue that, when released from the top of a ramp, will travel the greatest horizontal distance away from the bottom of the ramp, within a 1.5m wide “lane”, before stopping.


Rules & Requirements: Any supermarket variety dry, uncooked pasta may be used. Samples of the pasta used should be brought in the event of a challenge. Any commercially available glue is permissible. Only minimal use of glue is allowed. No major “sculpting”, joint, or gap filling with glue will be allowed. The pasta may be shaped by filing, sanding, or other dry machining techniques.

The vehicle must be able to fit into a closed box 30cm x 20cm x 15cm. There are no mass restrictions. The device must make and maintain contact with the surface on which it rests at more than one point/segment. (Simple spheres & cylinders will not be acceptable.)
Competition: The pasta mobiles will be placed on the ramp so that the rearmost part of the racer is in contact with a horizontal barrier at the top of the ramp. It will then be released by the contestant (no helpful nudges allowed!)  The entire ramp must fit in a space that is lm high x lm long x 0.5m wide.


Scoring: Scores will be based on:
Presentation of a pasta-mobile that meets the specifications as outlined above. Pasta-mobiles not meeting the requirements will be disqualified.
The distance from the bottom of ramp the pasta-mobile is able to travel horizontally, within the 1.5m lane.
Should the pasta-mobile lose its structural integrity (fall apart) during its run, the distance will be determined by the largest surviving structural component.
The highest scores will be awarded to pasta-mobiles that remain basically intact and travel the greatest distances, followed by those that do not remain intact but do meet all other requirements. lf the pasta-mobile rolls outside of the 1.5m wide lane, its distance will be measured along the edge of the lane to the first point where any part of the pasta-mobile crossed the boundary line.