Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Gingerbread Engineering

PostedDecember 20, 2009

Download File (mp3)

Randy Atkins:  You know your home will support Santa and reindeer, but how strong is your Christmas gingerbread house?  Two University of British Columbia engineering students just put the strength of these holiday homes to the test.

Mercedes Duifhuis:  We did go to the materials lab and tried putting one of the samples in their machinery, but it didn’t appreciate the delicacy of the gingerbread.

Randy Atkins:  Mercedies Duifhuis says, after figuring out a testing strategy, they learned there were trade-offs.  Using shortening as an ingredient made the strongest gingerbread; butter tasted far better but made it weaker.  Sean Heisler offers a compromise.

Sean Heisler:  I’d use margarine.  It’s got pretty good strength, fairly close to shortening, and still tastes good.

Randy Atkins:  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, 103-point-5 F-M and WTOP-dot-com.


  • University of British Columbia story on the project
  • The students' paper
  • More on gingerbread