Steel Bridge Team
The ISU Steel Bridge Club is a student organization completely comprised of undergraduate students ranging from freshmen to seniors. As a student organization, we are responsible for raising all the money for the bridge and competition. To do this the club sells pizza every week and writes sponsor letters each year to ask for donations. The design and fabrication are all done during students’ free time during the week nights and weekends. The club hosts two weekly meetings during the fall to discuss rule changes to the competition, design of the bridge and ways to raise money. In the spring, fabrication and construction practice require more meetings each week. Putting in hundreds of hours and overcoming challenges brings everyone together and creates life long bonds.
Every year ASCE and AISC come out with new rules that govern that year’s design. With each new set of rules, some items will remain unchanged while others change drastically. Our challenge is to design a bridge that does not violate the rules or spirit of the competition. The first step is to determine which portions of the rules have the greatest impact on scoring at competition, either design or construction. The Design Chair uses their free time during the Fall Semester to design and optimize the bridge.
Before the bridge fabrication begins, we use the Fall Semester to train new members how to weld, cut, and grind steel, so that they can contribute to the work being done on the bridge. Fabrication of the bridge occurs during the first month and half of the Spring Semester after all design work is completed.
The Midwest Regional Steel Bridge Competition is traditionally a three day event. The first night there is a social event where students from each school can mingle and make new friends. On the second day there are different speakers that talk about what they or their company does in the industry; the day ends with a formal dinner and another speaker. On the third day, the day of the competition, all of the bridges are set up for display judging. Each year we are judged on Display, Construction Speed, Lightness, and Stiffness. A monetary value (or score) is then assigned to Economy, Efficiency, and an Overall Cost. The top two schools with the lowest overall cost from our region advance to Nationals.
2014-2015 Competition Results
Last year’s competition proved to be a challenging but rewarding experience. We successfully advanced to the national competition after placing 2nd overall in the Midwest Regional Competition in Thunder Bay, Ontario. We fell just short of first place to Lakehead University overall. However, we placed first in Display and took home the Man-Mile Trophy. After placing well in regionals, the team headed to nationals in Kansas City, Missouri. Out of the 47 teams at nationals, we received 27th overall and 8th in display. With last year in the books, the ISU Steel Bridge team looks forward to another successful year.
After we overcome the design and fabrication challenges, we will compete in the 2016 Regional Steel Bridge Competition from March 10th – March 12th, 2016. The host this year is Minnesota State University, Mankato in Mankato, Minnesota. The competition will provide all ten teams a chance to socialize and test their bridge for vertical deflection, lateral sway, weight, aesthetics, and build time. Results from those tests are then transformed into a “build cost” and ranked from lowest to highest cost. The two bridges with the lowest cost at regionals are invited to the 2016 National Student Steel Bridge Competition at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah from May 27-May 28, 2016.
To learn more about ISU ASCE Steel Bridge, contact Cody Buelt, the Steel Bridge President, at firstname.lastname@example.org.