The University of Waterloo Steel Bridge Design Team is a collection of students passionate about the engineering design process. The team provides the opportunity to apply knowledge learned in both the classroom and the workplace to a unique design challenge in an environment that promotes connections between students and industry professionals. Students also gain hands-on experiences with all stages of structural steel design, from design to fabrication and ultimately construction of the bridge structure.
The ASCE National Student Steel Bridge Competition is an annual event that challenges student teams to design and fabricate a one-tenth scale steel bridge that must adhere to the design constraints and objectives outlined in the problem statement and rules provided by the organizers. Judging criteria includes stiffness, weight, construction speed, aesthetics, efficiency, and economy.
The team competed in April 2015 at West Point, NY in their first American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) competition. The team performed very well for their first year, coming in 8th out of the 12 teams participating.
The bridge chosen for competition in 2015 was an under Pratt truss. This structure was chosen as a relatively simple and efficient structure for their first year. Each module was limited to dimensions of 3’-0” x 6” x 4”. The bridge overall was required to be 19’-0” long, 2’-6” wide, and 1’-6” tall (minimum). The bridge weighed in at approx. 240lbs. It took about 36 minutes to construct in competition, but then only deflected a mere 1.5” under the 2500lb load. It was also extremely strong laterally, only deflecting 1/8” during the lateral load test.
The team will be competing at the 2016 Upstate New York regional competition held at the University of Buffalo, and hope to compete in the Canadian competition as well.