Pasta Bridges

Q1:  How much, if any, clay may be used to give height to the bridge in order for it to meet the 2.5 cm height requirement?

A1: Clay cannot be used to give height to the bridge, it can only be used to join pasta together or attach to the surface of the platform.  It can also be used to stabilize the cup.

Q2:  Suppose the pasta bridge is loaded from the highest point and we keep loading with pennies. Then the top span collapses and the cup with the pennies doesn’t fall but rests on the lowermost level – is that still valid? Can we keep loading it till this lower most span collapses too?
A2:  Loading will continue until the cup hits the table, falls over, or rests on the platform or its supports in such a way that it is no longer being supported by pasta.

Pasta Bridges

Question 1.  The bridge is loaded from the highest point.  Can the highest point be directly above one of the 2×4 supports or must it be between the supports?  In my reading, the rules do not address such a possibility.
Answer 1.  No, The highest point needs to be between the supports and needs to be able to support the measuring cup 2.5 cm above the support and between the supports when loading .  While not specifically enumerated it is the intent of the competition to build the strongest bridge,

Question 2.  Can the threaded metal bars that connect the 2x4s be used to support the bridge (e.g. can the students attach clay and pasta to the metal bars)?  The rules seem to suggest this is not allowed (rules refer to not supporting the bridge from underneath and that the clay should be used to connect pasta to itself or the wood support), but I wanted to be sure.
Answer 2.  No,  Rule seven states:  The bridge may not be braced against the supports from underneath. It should only contact the top surfaces of the supports, and cannot touch/be braced by the “ground.”  “It should only contact the top surfaces of the supports” rules out using anything below the surface as off limits.