The UBC Steel Bridge Team recently wrapped up activities for the 2014-2015 year, and is making big plans for a successful 2015 – 2016. A completely student-run team, Steel Bridge worked hard this year to prepare for competition at the ASCE Pacific Northwest Regional Conference at Idaho State University. The ASCE competition challenges teams in three categories: on-site bridge construction speed, load-bearing ability, and bridge weight. If a tie-breaking factor is required, the esthetics of the bridge are taken into consideration. At UBC, over twenty students started in September to design, fabricate, and construct a scale model steel bridge according to terms, laid out by competition organizers, which change every year. The preparation process gives team members the valuable opportunity to apply their technical knowledge to the design and analysis of steel structures, and to continue to develop soft skills such as communication, project management, and sponsorship development. This year, the team’s bridge came to 18.5 feet in length, and was designed to bear a load of 2400 pounds.
Competitors at this year’s event faced unforeseen challenges and uncontrollable factors in the competition which resulted in eight of the thirteen competing teams unexpectedly being disqualified, including UBC. However, the trip still proved to be a valuable experience for team, and as team captain Amir Afrasiabi notes: “The best thing about the competition is exposure to other universities and other teams, getting to know the people…that’s the best thing, every year.” Looking ahead to next year, the team aims to resume their place as a top-competitor at the Regional Competition and to qualify for the national competition. They also plan to make improvements to the management of the fabrication, sponsorship, and construction processes so that the workload is more evenly distributed throughout the year, ensuring a great overall experience for the team.
The generosity of the team’s sponsors has been critical to their success, and they are grateful for the support of their industry partners who provided consultation and direction throughout the year, as well as donating shop hours for the fabrication of the bridge. Visit UBC Steel Bridge online to get involved!
May 19, 2015