Florida Tech will welcome student teams from eight schools on March 19-20 as the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Student Chapter at Florida Tech hosts a regional AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition for the first time.
The 25-year-old annual competition challenges student teams to develop a scale-model steel bridge. Teams must determine how to fabricate their bridge and then plan for an efficient assembly under timed construction at the competition. Bridges are then load tested and weighed. The bridge must span approximately 20 feet and carry 2,500 pounds and must meet all other specifications of the competition rules. Bridge aesthetics are also considered in the final results of the competition.
In addition to Florida Tech, the other participating schools in this southeast region competition are University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez, Georgia Tech, University of South Florida, Kennesaw State University, Florida International University and Georgia Southern University.
Outstanding performance in the regional competitions qualifies eligible teams for the Student Steel Bridge Competition National Finals, which is organized by AISC in collaboration with American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
“Engineering extends well-beyond the classroom. Membership in national organizations like AISC and ASCE connects students with industry professionals and ‘bridges’ the gap between theoretical design and physical construction,” said Paul Ryan, president of the Florida Tech AISC chapter and a master’s student in civil engineering. “Hosting the Student Steel Bridge Competition allows Florida Tech to showcase its diverse academic resources and contribute to students’ hands-on college experience.”
The competition is open to the public. Spectators are welcome to view the assembled bridges during the aesthetics display between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday at Crawford Green on the Florida Tech campus. Those interested in seeing the bridges built are invited to attend the outdoor assembly of the bridges on Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the university’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Innovative Design in Palm Bay. In addition to construction, this main competition will feature lateral and vertical load testing and bridge weighing.
Event organizers need approximately 40 volunteers for the two-day event. They would handle tasks including setup/breakdown and refreshment distribution. Registration is required. Prospective volunteers will find a detailed list of jobs and time commitments when they register.