The Rensselaer Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is hosting the ASCE Steel Bridge Competition April 26-28. The competition involves a dozen universities from upstate New York and Canada.

The ASCE Steel Bridge Competition is a yearly student event in which teams compete in the design and building of a steel bridge. Each year the design parameters change, but they always entail the design of an 18-foot steel structure and construction of the bridge over a simulated river and construction zone. Students compete in various design and construction categories including stiffness, strength, lightness, construction time, construction efficiency, meeting of design criteria, presentation, etc.

According to ASCE, “the Student Steel Bridge Competition increases awareness of real-world engineering issues such as spatial constraints, material properties, strength, serviceability, fabrication and erection processes, safety, esthetics, project management, and cost. Success in competition requires application of engineering principles and theory, and effective teamwork. Future engineers are stimulated to innovate, practice professionalism, and use structural steel efficiently.”

This year’s regional competition is being held at Rensselaer, and is organized by the student ASCE chapter in coordination with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Competing schools include Rensselaer, RIT, Cornell, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Canton, and Clarkson. Two French-Canadian schools will compete as well.

The competition begins Friday morning at 7 a.m. in the Houston Field House. The steel bridges will be judged on display, construction speed, lightness, stiffness, construction economy, and structural efficiency.

The conference concludes Saturday evening with a banquet and awards presentation at the East Campus Athletic Village. Those schools that win portions of the competition and meet other eligibility requirements may move on to the national competition.

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