What role does the column take in architecture and building? Columns are often used to hold up heavy loads such as the roofs of buildings. The heavy load pushes on the column, putting it in compression. A good column, then has to be very strong in compression. Can a toilet paper tube then support your weight? First we experimented with an empty toilet paper tube and because the tube is round it was able to distribute the compression all around evenly, both James and Quentin could stand on the tube without it collapsing! Sam's weight, however, was too much and collapsed the tube. Then we taped the ends of the tube and filled it with sand. The tube now could distribute the compression of the weight outward from each sand grain and could now hold the weight, not only of Sam, but of Mom as well without collapsing. Wonder how much weight it would hold before it collapsed?