UAA civil engineering students host steel bridge-building competitionOn August 29, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
Female Speaker: What do you see and hear when civil engineers get together for fun? The recent American Society Of Civil Engineers student steel bridge competition at UAA offered lots of clues! They pound, and pound, they wear matching t-shirts, and have their pictures taken. They deal with lots of judges; follow lots of rules, organize bridge parts, organize nuts and bolts, and build bridges. Here’s UAAs team getting ready to go to work. We invited smiling Rachel Kidwell to be our guide. Rachel Kidwell: It’s a different design. Each bridge has to have a cantilever and – you know, has to be so long, so wide, has to follow certain height — that sort of thing, but it’s kind of up to the team to design. But then last night was the aesthetics judging and so all of the bridges were lined up on that far wall over there and so then each team got to go through and “oh! that’s great” and “oh, that’s not too good”, you know? And so they kind of got to pick and choose and get ideas for next year. Female Speaker: Do they have to put it together fast? Rachel Kidwell: Ideally — yes. One of the judging criteria is the construction time, so the faster you can do it with the least amount of people, is the ideal situation. Our team was around 16 minutes, which is pretty good. So it’s put it together, take it apart, put it together, take it apart. And they’re you know – sprinting and working as hard as they can to get it done. They are going through each tab has a nut and bolt, that is another rule, each member has to be connected with a bolt so that is why you see them putting in so many nuts and bolts across the bridge. Corey is inserting one of the first laterals. Female Speaker: Oh, on the far right? Rachel Kidwell: Yep. James is handing him more laterals and you see the different colors on the bridge? That is actually duct tape- Female Speaker: Uh, huh. Rachel Kidwell: so you know where to put them. You will see the left side is going to have double duct tape and then the right side just has a single layer, so pink goes together, green, orange, and so when you connect ’em — oh see, they dropped a bolt right there, so that will be a penalty. Female Speaker: Are these seniors, juniors, sophomores? Rachel Kidwell: These are all seniors actually, um; Corey, Anna, Brittany and James will all graduate May 1st with their Civil Engineering degree. Rachel Kidwell: First they weigh it, that’s one of the judging. There is a lateral test, and then there is a loading test. And so basically the bridge is set up and they put a force on the side, so they kind of pull it this way and so the bridge can’t move — I think it’s an inch, I think its 2 inches. But anyway, the point is there is a certain number. Female Speaker: The University of Alaska anchorage threw a great conference and came in 10th overall. Normally these events include concrete canoes, but Anchorage’s lakes were still frozen in early April so UAA came up with another idea — curling with concrete. Rachel Kidwell: Here are the brains behind this operation. Female Speaker: Tell me about it. Walter Graham: Oh, about it? Female Speaker: Yeah! Walter Graham: Essentially, its concrete curling, you see it comes from university to make stone out of concrete [woman yells: woo, hoo!] then we’ll have a competition with them in an actual curling game. Female Speaker: Are you competing as schools? Walter Graham: Yes, we are. Female Speaker: And how is UAA, you’re first up? Walter Graham: First up and the other team is up four points at the moment, so. Female Speaker: Okay. Walter Graham: We still have one minute a half more rounds to go, so we’ll see how things go, so Female Speaker: That would be Idaho State University. UAA came in second overall in curling.