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Engineering team takes first in steel bridge competition

Engineering team takes first in steel bridge competition

MARCH 11, 2020 — UTSA civil engineering students showed great success as they put classroom knowledge learned to practical use at the American Institute of Steel Construction’s Regional Steel Bridge Competition on March 8 in Arlington. 

The UTSA Steel Bridge Team placed first overall and took first in the following categories: construction economy, structural efficiency, lightness, construction speed and stiffness. 

Members of the UTSA Steel Bridge Team learn structural engineering problem solving, practical machine shop skills and teamwork with other engineers through this competition. After months of preparation the team competed against the best engineering schools in Texas. The UTSA team is now counted among the top finishers in the nation and qualify to compete in the 2020 National Finals, which will be held at Virginia Tech on May 22 and 23. 

The Steel Bridge Team in Action

“I attribute the success of the 2020 UTSA Steel Bridge Team to the hard work and dedication of all team members,” said team captain Evan Batton, who is a senior civil engineering student. 

This intercollegiate competition is a visual display of students’ structural design and analysis skills at work. Teams are challenged to design, fabricate and construct their own one-tenth-scale steel bridge in the shortest time and under specific building constraints that reflect real-life structural specifications and construction regulations. 

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 and cost. 

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“Participation in hands-on events such as the Steel Bridge Competition gives our students an opportunity to work as a team to develop intellectual, leadership and professional abilities,” said Manuel Diaz, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UTSA who is adviser to the Steel Bridge Team. “This exceptional team of students has exhibited these skills at their highest capacity and will use the lessons learned through this experience to become leaders in the professional world.” 

UTSA has been an active participant in the steel bridge competition since 1989 and has consistently been successful, bringing home numerous first place regional trophies for overall performance and many category awards.

Julie Paulson

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