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Date: 18 July 2018 (Wednesday)

Paper Structure Challenge

Briefing Session

Date: 30 June 2018 (Sat)
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Venue: Z509, Block Z of PolyU


Number of teams:

4 members in a team from one school, 10 teams maximum


Target participants:

Secondary 4 and 5 students. Preference will be given to those students taking Physics, Extended modules of Mathematics and/or Combined Science with Physics.


Description of the competition:

The model competition involves design, fabrication and testing of a space structure which spans on a triangular base. The design of the paper structure should be innovative and aesthetic. It should be structurally stable and be able to support the load of a people, as a minimum requirement.


For enrolment:

Please register online at the Secondary School Relations Section of PolyU: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/mysurvey/index.php/534231?lang=en


Briefing Session (Optional to attend):

A briefing session will be held in late June or early July 2018. The briefing session will outline the rules of Paper Structure Challenge and the test set-up.  There will be a question and answer session at the end of the briefing session.  Contestants and school representatives are encouraged to attend. Please note that we will not entertain any question during the model fabrication to ensure fairness of the competition. 

Briefing Session held on 30 June 2018, please click here to download the PowerPoint.


Competition regulations:

  1. Teachers and non-participants are not allowed to enter the classroom in the morning session or provide any assistance throughout the competition.
  2. The model shall be assembled and fabricated with paper and adhesive tape as per provided by the organizer.
  3. Each team may bring along the tools such as scissors, cutters, rulers and pens. Glue, adhesive tapes (except those provided by the organizer), or the like are not allowed


The paper structure

  1. The paper structure shall rest on a foam board in the form of an isosceles triangle of 250 mm sides ("the base"). It shall be 400 mm (±10mm) height and support a foam board in the form of an isosceles triangular of 400 mm sides on top ("the top"). See Figure 1.
  2. Both the base and the top will be provided by the organizer.
  3. An A4 size tray (Figure 2) shall be installed above the top.
  4. The paper structure shall provide an interior space sufficient and shall be judged by passing one cup of yogurt with its lid open through the paper structure for one side to the other side. Any spilling from the cup of yogurt may be considered as failing to provide an interior space.

Figure. 1 Requirement of the base

sp2018 figure1

Figure 2. Requirement of the top

sp2018 figure2

Figure 3: Requirement of loading test

sp2018 figure3


Loading test

  1. The structure shall first support the weight of any team member standing inside the A4 size tray.
  2. Dead load will be added. The extra dead loads will be provided by the organizer and placing the dead loads will be on the team’s personal judgement.
  3. Ten minutes will be given to each team for setting up and performing the loading test. The paper structure should hold the person for 5s before successive dead loads can be added. Final loads will be recorded when time is up. Final loads will be the cumulative load added before the height of the paper structure reduces by 25% of the original height or collapse.


Materials for each team

  1. Two rolls of 3/4" wide adhesive tapes
  2. 250 pieces of A4 recycle paper (75 gsm)
  3. Two pieces of isosceles triangular foam board, one with sides 250 mm and the other with size 400 mm
  4. A pair of scissor and a paper knife


Judging Criteria

  1. Strength

    The team with largest final load will get 100 points. The team with second largest final load will get 90 points and so on. The team which cannot satisfy the minimum strength requirement of holding the weight of a team member will not get any points from this part of assessment.

  2. Lightness

    Gross weight of the paper structure will be measured before the loading test. Weight of the paper structure will be the gross weight less weight of the top, the base and the A4 size tray. The team with the lightest structure will get 100 points from this part of assessment. The team with second lightest structure will get 90 points and so on.

  3. Aesthetic and Innovation

    The paper structures will be assessed in terms of aesthetic and innovation. The judging panel will rank the frame structures based on the free space inside the paper structure, the aesthetic overall outlook and innovation. The team with the highest rank will get 100 points from this part of assessment. The team ranks the second will get 90 points and so on. The team which cannot satisfy the minimum strength requirement passing a cup of yogurt to another team member through the projection of the base triangular area will not get any points from this part of assessment.

(Updated on 9 July 2018)


Last’s year competition:

summer programme2017 1 

summer programme2017 2

summer programme2017 3

summer programme2017 4

summer programme 2017

summer programme2017 6