University of Vermont

UVM Students Win 1st Place in Aesthetics Steel Bridge Competition at UMass

Steel Bridge Team

UVM engineering students have returned from the University of Amherst with a First Place Plaque for Aesthetics from the Eastern Regional Steel Bridge Competition held March 30-31, 2012 in Amherst, Massachusetts.  MIT and Universite Laval took the top two spots for load, and UNH placed 3rd.

“Our 2012 steel bridge was shoulders above last year's entry," says Ryan Davenport, a senior civil engineering student originally from Poultney Vermont. "Unfortunately we were heavily penalized for lateral deflection, but we had the most creative and innovative bridge at this year's competition by far.”

A part of the Steel Bridge Competition involved a student Mead paper presentation by team member Jared Grigas related to globalization and ethics. Grigas placed 6th in this event.

The UVM team’s steel bridge held 1500 pounds on the main span and 1000 pounds on the cantilever.  In the end the UVM team, along with half of the teams that competed, was disqualified from the load competition event for failing a load test.  

To view a video of the UVM team building the steel bridge, visit:

This inter-collegiate challenge is sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and requires students to design, fabricate and construct a steel bridge.  During the process students also gained other skills such as management techniques, steel design and fabrication and how to sequence construction for maximum efficiency.

The overall goal of the competition is to have the most efficient and inexpensive bridge. The competition categories included: display, construction speed, lightness, stiffness, construction economy, and structural efficiency. To quality to compete, bridge components had to fit within a 3' x 6" x 4" rectangular box. Students were judged on the quick assemble of the 23-foot-long steel bridges designed and fabricated prior to arrival according to specific design requirements. Once constructed each bridge was tested for lateral sway by a horizontal load of 75 lbs, and by 2500 lbs of vertical load measuring total aggregate deflection. Each element of the entire competition -- from construction time, amount of builders, and weight due to deflection -- equates back to cost.

For more information contact:  Ryan Davenport

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