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Steel Bridge Competition

2019 Team
Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe Teams at the 2018 ASCE Pacific Northwest Regional Competition.

About Steel Bridge

The University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Engineering and Mines has a legacy with the Steel Bridge Competition. Each year, since starting nearly three decades ago, the university has pushed the limits of the competition through vigorous ingenuity and teamwork. Having a small team, where funding is hard to come by and manufacturing is all done in-house, the team would seem to be at a disadvantage. However, the team has used their obstacles as challenges to overcome rather than to deter them. Through various community outreach activities, volunteering, and professional networking the Steel Bridge team gets involved with Fairbanks and raises enough funds for materials and travel to the Pacific Northwest and then onto National Conferences. Through in-house fabrication, the Steel Bridge Team learns hands on welding and design testing, and the value of transparency between design and construction. The team also focuses on building itself, developing the people around them into better, well-rounded, well-spoken and hardworking engineers of Alaska’s future.

Participating in the Steel Bridge Competition provides students with not only the experience to design a bridge based upon their engineering understanding, but also the opportunity to fabricate the design and see the entire process from start to finish. Because of this experience, engineering students involved in Steel Bridge are better rounded overall and are provided with additional opportunities upon graduation.

 

Support Steel BridgeSupport this year's steel bridge team and designate to ”CEM ASCE Student Competition.” (This will soon be renamed to ”CEM ASCE Student Competition/Steel Bridge”)

 

Steel Bridge is co-run by the civil engineering department's two main student groups:

AGC (Associated General Contractors of Alaska)

AGC Logo

ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers)

ASCE logo

The Student Steel Bridge Competition is hosted by AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction)

AISC Logo

Join Steel Bridge

Steel bridge is always accepting new members and all students are welcome to participate. Students are encouraged to join early in their academic career so that they can learn the ropes from returning students and build on their skills and engineering knowledge through steel bridge throughout their schooling. If you are interest and would like to know more please contact this years team captain listed below or swing by the new steel bridge shop located in room 116 of the ELIF building.

2019-2020 Steel Bridge Team Captain

Taylor Tharp - tbtharp@alaska.edu

Advisors

Leroy Hulsey - jlhulsey@alaska.edu
Wilhelm Muench - wemuench@alaska.edu

2019-2020 Steel Bridge Competition Website & Rules

2018-2019 Steel Bridge Design & Results

The 2019 competition was held at the Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington. The Bridge was designed to reduce deflection and minimize weight while meeting the dimensional envelope. The over-truss configuration of the bridge was implemented to greatly increase the stiffness of the bridge compared to an under-truss bridge of comparable weight. Plagued by both time and weight penalties at the competition we placed 1st place overall. We were quite pleased with the results having The 2019 competition was held at the Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington. The Bridge was designed to reduce deflection and minimize weight while meeting the dimensional envelope. The over-truss configuration of the bridge was implemented to greatly increase the stiffness of the bridge compared to an under-truss bridge of comparable weight. Plagued by both time and weight penalties at the competition we placed 1st place overall. We were quite pleased with the results having first place in stiffness, lightness and structural efficiency and second place in construction speed and aesthetics. Learning a great deal from last year we were pleased to make it to nationals.

Results from the 2019 AISC Steel Bridge Pacific Northwest Regional Competition:
    1st Place – Overall
    1st Place – Structural Efficiency
    1st Place – Stiffness
    2nd Place – Display
    3rd Place – Economy
    2nd Place – Construction Speed
    1st Place – Lightness
 
Results from the 2019 AISC Steel Bridge National Competition:
    7th Place – Overall
    3rd Place – Structural Efficiency
    4th Place – Stiffness
    6th Place – Display
    10th Place – Economy
    20th Place – Construction Speed
    6th Place – Lightness

The 2019 National Student Steel Bridge Competition has come to a close. After 17 Regional events, with over 240 competing schools, and 41 teams making it to the national competition, our team from the farthest north university in the US pulled through winning 7th Overall!!!

The competition was tough but our team did fantastic. We made a few changes to our bridge between regionals and nationals which made it possible to construct with 3 people instead of 5, which reduced our overall score by 3 million (which is incredible)! We had our best build time at competition coming in at 11 minutes and 43 seconds and with 3 people on the build team we ended up getting 10th in economy.

We got load case 6 which was our worst load case and even still the bridge only deflected 0.3 inches under the 1500 lb load and 0.19 under the 1000 lb load giving us a total deflection of 0.49 and putting us in 4th place for stiffness. Our bridges measured weight came out to 173 lbs and with that low of a deflection put us in 3rd place for Efficiency!

Please feel free to check out our Facebook page for more information and photos from competition.

2019 Photo 1
Larry Hiles welding on the 2019 bridge.

2019 Photo 2
Ben Vanderhart milling parts for the 2019 bridge.

2019 Photo 3
Morning of completing the fabrication of the 2019 bridge.

2019 Photo 4
Timed Construction at the 2019 Regional Competition in Lacey, WA.

2019 Photo 5
Timed Construction at the 2019 National Competition in Carbondale, IL.

2019 Photo 6
Vertical Load Test at the 2019 National Competition in Carbondale, IL.

2019 Photo 7
The 2019 Steel Bridge Team after the awards banquet at eh 2019 Regional Competition in Lacey, WA.

Past Years

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