2015 Regional Competition
On April 24th, the Missouri S&T Steel Bridge design team arrived at the University of Kansas ready for the competition to begin. We were competing against 14 other regional teams, among them were Missouri State, University of Arkansas, and Kansas State. That evening was the display competition where the bridges are judged on aesthetics. It is also our first chance to scout out the competition. The next morning, the competition began! The team waited and watched the other schools as they built their bridges. Judges inspected each bridge, and if approved, the bridge was load tested with 2500 pounds. The S&T team patiently waited until it was finally our time to go.
The construction crew, consisting of 5 team members, was focused and ready to go! The crew performed phenomenally constructing the bridge in under 22 minutes, while most teams were taking over 30. This year’s competition was more complicated than the previous years because there were strict boundaries for the crews including a river and a 2 foot causeway to get to the other side. Another difference was that battery operated tools were not permitted.
After inspection, it was time to load the bridge. Slowly, weight was added in 20 pound increments until 2500 pounds was met. After several minutes, with only 120 pounds left to load onto the bridge, a weld on the connection failed causing the bridge to deflect over the 3 inch limit. This was a devastating time for the team but a great learning opportunity. Though the bridge may have failed, it performed better than most expected! The team is proud of their accomplishment and is looking forward to beginning on next year’s design come August!