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ASCE Student Chapter competes in national steel bridge competition

The Lamar University ASCE Student Chapter competed in the 2018 National Student Steel Bridge Competition hosted at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, recently, receiving valuable experience and earning a second-place finish in the display category. 

Steel bridge teamThe American Institute of Steel Construction sponsors the annual competition in which students design, fabricate and construct a 1:10 scale model steel bridge. The bridge is built during the competition, then is load tested with 2,500 pounds and its deflection is measured. The winning bridge is based on its design, construction time, weight, deflection and economic practicality. 

Competing in nationals exposed the LU team to many innovative bridge designs, giving next year’s team new insight on methods and techniques that will benefit the program, according to Steel Bridge Captain Hayden Rice. Experience gained this year will help LU’s next team increase its competitiveness after new criteria is released.

“I would say that this experience provides valuable insight to the students as it allows them to take the theoretical process from the classroom, and incorporate it into a real world, hands on application,” said Mark Mann, a professional engineer and vice president with Schaumburg & Polk, Inc., who served as the practitioner advisor for the student chapter. “This year’s bridge has been invaluable to the ASCE Students at Lamar as it allows them to show the strength of the Lamar University Civil Engineering Program on the National Scale.” 

In earlier regional competition, LU’s team had placed first in the display category by creating what judges deemed the most aesthetically pleasing bridge. LU’s second place regional finish in stiffness, based on the bridge’s performance during the deflection test, slipped to 19th among the 42 colleges and universities in the national competition. LU’s second-place finish in efficiency, measured by creating a bridge with the second best steel-to-strength ratio, earned LU 28th spot of 42 in national competition.

“I am proud of their performance,” said Jerry Lin, University Professor and Scholar and faculty advisor of the student club.