Each year, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo sends a team to compete in the National Steel Bridge Competition held by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Steel Bridge Team members collaborate to plan, design, fabricate and construct a one-tenth-scale model steel bridge for the competition. Their bridges are judged by three main factors: lightness, efficiency and stiffness.
In order for the team to qualify for the national competition, they first had to win at their regional conference. The conference for the Cal Poly team was the annual Pacific Southwest Conference where they swept top honors by placing first overall. Congratulations on the amazing effort!
KNA donates every year to support the Cal Poly SLO Steel Bridge team. “We’re happy to support these engineering students and congratulate them on the win. We believe in fostering hands-on educational opportunities for up-and-coming structural engineers. These competitions help prepare emerging engineers to join our internship program. As a supportor of these and other programs, KNA’s connection to Cal Poly strengthens our commitment to these students,” said David Nelson, Principal, KNA.
“Our Team Was Inspired”
In the final competition over the 2017 Memorial Day weekend, the Cal Poly team competed against 42 top-ranking schools from across the United States, Canada, Mexico, China and Puerto Rico at Oregon State University, the collegiate host of the 2017 national competition. Each competing team is allowed up to 45 minutes to assemble their bridge. The Cal Poly team assembled their bridge in a record 5 minutes and 3 seconds, which beat all previous times.
“We practiced a lot,” said project leader Hannah Lancaster. “How well the bridge performed is a testimony to our outstanding team. Add to that the experience of returning members and the high standards set by previous participants, how could we not be inspired to succeed?”
Other team captains include: Matthew Ramos (Carmichael, CA), design lead; Stephen Hager (San Diego), fabrication lead; Jessica Ramirez (Union City, CA), machining lead; John Stern (Vacaville, CA), construction lead; and Jonathan Diaz (San Bruno, CA), software lead.
Specs for the bridge included:
- A 20-foot span with a width of 3’ 6” and total weight of 97 pounds
- Bridge structure consisted of 37 individual segments of fabricated steel, round shapes ranging from ½ inch to 1 ¼ inches in diameter
- Following regulations, each segment of the bridge was no larger than 3’ long, 6” tall x 4” wide
The winning team designed the bridge during the 2016 fall quarter followed by fabrication during the 2017 winter quarter. Design software used in the design and fabrication included AutoCAD, Staad 2000, Solidworks and Abacus.
Congratulations on 3rd Place Overall!
Cal Poly’s team did a fantastic job and were rewarded by placing in these categories:
- 1st Place Lightness
- 1st Place Efficiency (deflection / weight of the bridge)
- 4th Place Stiffness (aggregate deflection along the bridge)
- 3rd Place Overall
This is the first time Cal Poly has placed first in any of the sub-categories and the seventh continuous year of placing in the top 10 of over 200 schools at the national competition. We look forward to seeing what these talented Cal Poly SLO students do in the future.