Thursday, July 19, 2012
Students Take Part in National Steel Bridge Competition
The competition requires students to simulate a realistic design and construction scenario. This year’s rules required teams to construct a model scale bridge 22 feet long and 3 feet wide as proof of concept for a larger structure. There were very strict limits related to the geometry and construction of the bridge.
The bridge must be built up entirely of pieces that fit within a 4"x6" box that is three feet long. Those pieces were all fabricated – cut, drilled, and welded – by the student team in advance of the competition. At the competition site, the team is judged on their ability to construct the bridge quickly and without penalty (i.e. stepping in an area designated as “water,” dropping a tool, etc.)
The bridge is further judged for its strength and stiffness in a load test once assembled. Strength-to-weight ratio is a major scoring criterion. The bridge is also judged for its aesthetic appeal.
The University of Hartford team’s bridge survived the many rigors of the competition – a rare feat for a team competing in its first year. They finished 9th of the 11 teams in the regional competition. The student group is energized for next year’s competition now that they have a better understanding of what it takes to compete. They considered it a valuable learning and team-building experience.
The project was sponsored by the University of Hartford SGA, Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers, Bartlett Brainard and Eacott, United Steel, Shepard Steel, Macri Associates, Construction Institute, and CT Space Grant.