The Construction of Arches

Above: Purposed Wilford Ladd Memorial

Purpose: Of the many tools used by architechs, none is as reveared as the arch. The fantastic, yet, simplistic shape has been used by architects dating all the way back to the romans. The experiment shall attempt to reconstruct the arch using sugar cubes.

Hypothesis: The hypothesis of this experiment is that sugar cubes should be able to replace actual stones in the constuction of the arch. This is based on the fact that the laws of gravity that effect the arch will remain constant for smaller materials. Furthermore, this experiment would like to prove that we in the modern age have advanced far enough from our ancestors that we can recreate their tremendous achievements with mere sugar cubes.

Equipment: Required for this experiment are sugar cubes and knife to split cubes into triangles.

Procedure: Three seperate plans for building arches will be used. The first is building with small irregular triangles, the second with 45 degree right triangles, and finally with squares. The arches will have to be put together against the laws of gravity, these effects have been mapped out in the following diagram:

Above: The arrows depict the effect that gravity has on the arch. The Blue arrows represent gravity, Red represent the grounds counter reaction as the base of the arch pushes off of it. The Orange arrows represent the overall effect that gravity has on the arch. The Grey arrows represent the arches counter reaction as they push off one another.


Type of Arch Picture of Arch
Irregular Triangles

Arch was able to stand on it's own power.

45 degree Right Triangles

Arch required adhesives (flour and water) to remain standing.

Lines are added due to poor picture quality.


Arch was able to stand on its own power.

Conclusion: The hypothesis was proven right, and arches were able to be constructed using sugar cubes. The arch using irregular triangles (obtuse and acute triangles), was the most archlike, second was the arch using right triangles. Such archs may have been constructed in the past by adding adhesives while the arch was still on the ground, then raising the arch using ropes and pullies. The arch using squares was quite simple in design, it is most likely that these were the first archs to come into existance.


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