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ASCE Student Chapter Sponsors Two Potentially Award Winning Projects

The Amer. Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE) Steel Bridge Team provides students interested in structural engineering with hands-on experience with design, fabrication, and construction as part of a team. The team needs to construct a bridge comprised entirely of steel while abiding by competition rules set forth by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC).   In the fall, the team drafts the design and connections for the bridge, and begins fabrication by the end of the semester. Students learn to apply classroom knowledge, their own research, and their intuition and creativity through moment diagrams, tension calculations, connection proposals, and other parts of the design process. They will have the opportunity to share and critique each other’s ideas, learn machine skills, gain experience of working on a project team, and bond with other classmates and faculty of similar interests. At the spring ASCE regional conference, teams compete on their designs, their presentation, and bridge performance for bridges assembled by several students within the competition time limit. Although the Steel Bridge Team is based in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The team is open to all undergraduate students interested in participating. 

The Concrete Canoe effort is a student lead project team whose goal is to construct a canoe made purely from cement and reinforcing materials. The canoe must float, even after being fully submerged, and to support up to four team members for a series of races at competition (men, women, mixed).  The Cornell Concrete Canoe Team is comprised of three sub-teams focused on the mix, mold, and appearance. The mix team addresses developing a strong but light concrete mix. The 2011-12 mix team has improved upon previous years' concrete mixes, by experimenting with difference proportions of different materials. The mold team constructs or buys a mold upon which the concrete is cast to create the canoe. This year a wooden canoe, or plug, is being used as a male mold. Meanwhile, the appearance team is busy choosing a theme and name for the boat, as well as creating a display and stands for the canoe for the competition. On cast day, the most important day for the team, team members assemble to lay the concrete on the mold, thus creating the canoe! Other aspects of the project team include creating an AutoCAD file for the shape of the canoe and writing a design paper that details the steps taken to construct the final boat, including a finite element analysis of the canoe as well. As a project team, concrete canoe provides opportunities for leadership, offers practical engineering experience in the lab, and requires both patience and group cooperation for the team to be successful.  GO TEAM!

This year’s competition for both Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe will be hosted by Clarkson University and SUNY Potsdam in Potsdam, NY in April 19-21.

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