Steel Bridge Team Succeeds Despite Loss

May 4, 2015

The Syracuse University Steel Bridge Team traveled to West Point to compete in the American Society of Civil Engineers Regional Student Steel Bridge Competition this April. They earned first place in the oral presentation category and an incredibly valuable experience in spite of failing to advance to the next level. In the competition, teams of college students build a 1:10 scale model bridge approximately 19 feet in length. Each team designs and fabricates their bridge beforehand and constructs it, piece by piece, in a timed setting at the competition. After the bridge is built, weight is applied to test it for deflection—the amount the structure moves when subjected to a load. Each bridge is judged on its efficiency, lightness, stiffness, construction speed, economy, and display. Ultimately, the Syracuse University team’s bridge was unable to withstand the applied load. It collapsed at the last second due to a single weld failure, but the team still chalks the entire experience up as a win. Mark Gardner ’15, the team’s captain says, “We definitely have nothing to be ashamed of. Being part of the Steel Bridge Team has given us so many skills and so much hands-on experience we wouldn’t have gained anywhere else. I have no doubt that all our team members will be smarter engineers and more competitive job candidates thanks to our involvement.” The Syracuse University team of civil engineering students was revived in 2013 and has been competing in the regional competitions ever since. This year’s efforts were funded in part by a 'Cusefunder campaign that ended at 185 percent of its goal, raising money for tools, travel costs, and conference fees. The additional funds the team received will be applied to the 2016 team and possibly other ASCE competitions, such as the Concrete Canoe competition.