Campus: CSU Chico -- May 03, 2002
CSU Chico Engineering Students Win Regional Steel
For the sixth consecutive year, California State University, Chico civil
engineering students have won the Mid-Pacific Region Steel Bridge Competition,
held at San Jose State on April 26.
The team and its adviser, Joel Arthur, professor of civil engineering,
will be traveling to Madison, Wisconsin in June for the national competition.
They hope to regain the national championship, which they won in 2000.
In 1999, they finished second.
The American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Institute of
Steel Construction sponsor the annual event. Chico's team competed against
seven schools from Northern California and Nevada, including UC Berkeley,
University of Nevada, Reno, UC Davis and Sacramento State.
The competition requires that student teams from each university fabricate
a dimensionally scaled bridge from structural steel and then construct
their bridge over an imaginary 13-foot-wide river during timed assembly.
The Chico team used advanced computer modeling and design techniques
to analyze and design a steel bridge to meet construction specifications.
Chico's 21 1/2 foot long, 232-pound steel bridge easily supported 2,500
pounds of loading to earn first place in both stiffness and construction
speed. Six students assembled the bridge in a lightning fast 3 minutes
and 45 seconds, which helped the team achieve first place in a tight
race with Sacramento State.
A competitor is allowed to carry only one bridge member at a time from
the staging areas, located on each side of the river, to the riverbanks
to complete the assembly of the 20-piece bridge. The total construction
time is obtained by multiplying the number of competitors and the assembly
time; then time penalties are added for such things as dropping bolts
or touching the river.
After assembly, the bridge is moved to a loading station where movement
up or down (deflection) is measured for two loading challenges with
a total of 2,500 pounds: 2,000 pounds is placed uniformly over the center
6 feet of the bridge and at one end, and then the final 500 pounds is
placed on one of the cantilevered overhangs at the other end. The aggregate
deflection is then calculated.
After surviving the loading tests, the bridge is weighed, completing
the competition. Awards are given based on the three numbers from construction:
speed of construction, total deflection and weight (lighter is better).
"The competition is unparalleled as a learning task, as it demands
that students apply and test theoretical concepts related to the analysis,
design and performance optimization of structures," said Arthur.
Team captain John Calvert along with team members Sergio Damian, Myles
Gilbert, Steve Grupico, Chad Houchin, Matt King, Paul Rabo, and faculty
adviser Arthur are busy modifying the bridge design to make it even
more competitive at the national competition. Technician Jim Luallen
provides guidance and assistance to the team throughout the construction
For further information, contact faculty adviser, Joel Arthur, professor
of civil engineering, 530-898-4292.