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CEE Students Prepare For National Student Steel Bridge Competition

Steel Bridge

CEE students who competed in the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) student regional competition for the steel bridge display placed in the top four in the regional competition and finished first in visual display. This earned them an opportunity to compete in the ASCE/AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction) National Student Steel Bridge Competition (NSSBC) on May 27-28 held at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Competing nationally against 47 other engineering teams will be CEE undergraduates Matt King, Mark Nichols, Cody Stephens, Clint Lynch and Matt Lyons.

ASCE Faculty Mentor, Professor Z. John Ma, notes that it is very difficult to get to nationals because the Southeast region is very competitive. “I am very proud of our team’s performance at the ASCE student conference, and I wish them the best of luck at NSSBC,” he said.

The competition, now in its 25th year, is recognized as a national showcase where students can test their skills and prepare them for real-world bridge design. The mission of the ASCE/AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition is to supplement the education of civil engineering students with a student-driven project that provides many aspects of experiential learning. The competition helps increase awareness of real-world engineering issues and requires effective teamwork and project management. Students are pushed to innovate, practice professionalism and use structural steel efficiently.

Judging the competition is based on construction time, how much the bridge deflects under the 2,500 pounds of loading and how much the bridge weighs. The team can build it in about eight minutes and 30 seconds, and the bridge currently weighs 143 pounds.

Cody Stephens, one of the team captains, thinks they stand a good chance of performing well. “Since the ASCE regional competition, we’ve reduced our construction time by more than four minutes,” he said. “Because of this, I believe that we will have a good showing at the national competition.”

Instructor Jenny Retherford will be attending the competition and agrees that this year’s team of students will be extremely competitive. “They have it all – students who performed design and analysis of the bridge, students who labored over the construction and students who contribute to the competition build performance,” she said. “Overall, I look to see them placing well nationally – I hope within the top 10.”