CLEMSON, SC – Dusten Wells of Mexico is participating in the National Student Steel Bridge Competition May 25 and 26 at Clemson University. Wells is a member of SUNY Canton’s steel bridge team.
More than 500 students from 47 universities are participating in the competition.
The teams are from schools around the U.S., Canada, Mexico and China. They have designed bridges that are more than 22 feet long and must be able to hold 2,500 pounds, span an imaginary river and designed to minimize the amount of steel and the time to assemble the bridge.
“There are 47 teams coming and there will be 47 unique solutions to the design of the bridge even though all teams were given the same problem statement and requirements,” said Clemson professor Scott Schiff, who is working with a Creative Inquiry team of students majoring in civil engineering or Parks, Recreation Tourism Management to host the competition with the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering.
The team from SUNY Canton won or placed in its regional competition to qualify for the national event.
The teams begin the competition on Friday and will showcase their assembled bridges in the display portion of the competition.
They also will compete in an “Fe” Quiz Bowl, named after the periodic table symbol for iron and playing off of the name of the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam taken but nearly all civil engineering students.
The construction and load competition begins at 8 a.m. Saturday when the teams bring their bridges pieces and tools to the Fike Recreation Center on the Clemson campus.
Up to six members of each team will build the bridges one piece at a time and are timed to see how efficiently they can assemble their bridges. Other team members bring the pieces to them one at a time from a separate staging area. Schiff said it’s important that the pieces are delivered in the order they are needed because no piece can be left on the floor.
“It’s not just designing a bridge that can hold 2,500 pounds – that’s easy,” he said. “It’s designing a bridge that’s easy to build, meets all of the design requirements and construction rules and can hold 2,500 pounds.”
Teams are scored based on how long it takes to assemble their bridges multiplied by the number of team members building them, how much their bridges weigh to measure how much material they use, how little their bridges deflect when weight is added and if they can hold the 2,500 pounds. Aesthetics also can affect the final scores.
Schiff said steel bridge teams begin planning their bridges after each year’s national competition and spend months designing and fabricating them.
“I wouldn’t want to add up how many hours they devote to this project,” he said.
Nadim Aziz, chairman of the Glenn Department of Civil Engineering and Clemson’s associate provost for faculty development and support, called the annual steel bridge competition “a great student engagement opportunity.”
He added, “These students not only solve engineering problems, but they learn about leadership, team-building and communication. Employers like that they’re involved in these teams because of the skills they learn.”
The American Institute of Steel Construction is the primary sponsor of the National Student Steel Bridge Competition’s with American Society of Civil Engineers the primary co-sponsor.
The list of participating universities is online at: http://www.clemson.edu/media-relations/4276
Follow the competition on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/2012NSSBC
For more about the competition, go to: http://www.clemson.edu/ces/steel-bridge/
Ranked No. 25 among national public universities, Clemson University is a major, land-grant, science- and engineering-oriented research university that maintains a strong commitment to teaching and student success. Clemson is an inclusive, student-centered community characterized by high academic standards, a culture of collaboration, school spirit, and a competitive drive to excel.