The 2018 Cal Poly SLO Steel Bridge Team recently took First Place in the Steel Bridge Competition held during the Pacific Southwest Conference hosted by Arizona State University. The construction team assembled their bridge in record-breaking time—two minutes and 41 seconds. The students competed against 17 universities from California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii. The team also took First Place for individual sub-categories including Stiffness, Lightness, Construction Speed, Economy and Efficiency.
KNA provides funds for the competing Cal Poly students while the American Institute of Steel Construction and the American Society of Civil Engineers sponsor the overall competition. Cal Poly has a long history of participating in the event which supports the school’s mission of “learn by doing.”
Thank you for supporting our 2018 Cal Poly Steel Bridge Team! It has been a challenging, yet rewarding year working on this project, an experience that would not be possible without KNA’s help.” —Michael Clark, Project Manager
First Place Bought the Team a Ticket to Nationals
Having placed in the regionals, the Cal Poly Team was invited to compete in the 2018 National Student Steel Bridge Competition (NSSBC) in late May held at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. They went up against 42 top-ranking universities from across the United States, Canada, Mexico, China and Puerto Rico. Having worked diligently all year to design, fabricate and assemble the bridge, their efforts were acknowledged by winning in the following categories:
- Third Place in Efficiency
- Third Place in Economy
- Second Place Overall!
The Cal Poly Steel Bridge Team Participants were:
- Project Manager: Michael Clark
- Design Captain: Sarah Shaffer
- Machining Captain: Gabriela Pascualy
- Welding Captain: Luke Nazaroff
- Construction Captain: Alen Lactaoen
- Analysis Captain: Michael Choi
- Faculty Advisor: Dr. Eric Kasper P.E., Ph.D.
Talent and Innovation Secured Their Win
With changes to the rules every year, it is rare for bridges to be identical from one year to the next. As a result, both the design and construction methods used in the competition differ from previous years. The Cal Poly Team implemented a number of innovative processes that gave them an edge:
- Power tools were approved to use.
- Utilized impact drivers and welded nuts, reducing construction time.
- New type of connection used to allow pieces of the bridge to swing into place with greater ease.
- Deviated from the standard horizontal lateral bracing. Implemented a new form of lateral resistance dubbed the “X-Wing.”
- Connection at the legs was held by three pieces together with a single nut and bolt—fewer bolts equate to quicker construction time.
- Bridge had a record number of butt welds.
- Butt welds enabled the team to vary the cross-section of chords, making the bridge lighter without compromising strength.
Congratulations to these amazing future engineers. We look forward to seeing what they will accomplish next!
* This is the fifth consecutive year the team has placed in the top three overall at the national competition. The breakdown of the entire score as well as results from previous years, is posted here.