Leonardo da Vinci’s Self-Sustaining Bridge


We decided to test how much this bridge could hold. The video below shows us stacking various objects on top. We were able to balance 11.5 pounds worth of materials before the structure toppled– so roughly 0.04 pounds worth of pencils supported more than 11 pounds! This means that the pencils, when configured in da Vinci’s special structure, could support objects roughly 288 times their combined weight! See how much you can balance on top!

To make longer bridges, just continue the pattern, layering in more pencils. We stopped at 9 pencils and made a basic bridge, but if you’re especially motivated, feel free to continue the design.


Having painted the Mona Lisa, designed ornithopters, or flying machines, and studied human anatomy, Leonardo da Vinci was literally and figuratively a Renaissance man. Da Vinci lived during the Renaissance, a period in Europe characterized by its advances in art and science. However, one of his most ingenious inventions was his self-sustaining bridge.

Da Vinci designed the bridge while receiving financial support from Cesare Borgia, an Italian mercenary and politician. Borgia wanted da Vinci to create machines to aid him in war. Da Vinci came up with the self-sustaining bridge, as it is easy to construct, portable, and does not need any nails or rope to erect. It can also carry a lot of weight, perfect for soldiers wearing armor and carrying heavy weapons.

Information for this article was taken from the following site:


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