Highly Commended: The Physics Behind Straw Work: The Craft That Stands the Test of Time

Congratulations to Katie from Cheadle Hulme School who won the Highly Commended Award for the Aged 15 category. Katie created this project to demonstrate the physics behind her passion for straw plaiting. Take a look at her entry below:

In this project, I will explore the tensile strength of straw plaits. I will do this through an investigation where I change the independent variables regarding the plait to see how it affects the strength.

I have always been interested in the Victorian era and I like to do crafts from this era such as dressmaking and knitting. Outside of school, I dress like a Victorian by wearing long skirts and hats. During winter, at school, I wore a top-hat with a folded brim that was made of faux fur. When summer came around, I couldn’t wear that fur hat anymore, so I talked with my head of year about what hats may be worn at school during the summer months, to which he answered straw boaters are allowed. I wanted to make a straw boater and, after a lack of online resources with clear instructions; I decided to attend a straw plaiting course. The instructor was Veronica Main, who became my hero and she taught me all I know about straw. Straw plaiting is a hobby that is very important to me and is the profession that my hero is famous for.