(March 25, 2011 " Thunder Bay, ON) This past weekend, a contingent of 27 Lakehead University Civil Engineering students, and the five-member Steel Bridge Team, traveled to the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota, to participate in the Annual ASCE Midwest Regional Student Conference and the AISC/ASCE Regional Qualifier Student Steel Bridge Competition. The Lakehead contingent left a mark on the conference by taking first place, once again, in the steel bridge-building competition, second place in the technical paper competition, and winning the Person-Mileage Participation trophy, awarded to the university with the greatest total of participating students multiplied by their distance traveled to the competition.
Lakehead Steel Bridge Team Takes First Place
The Lakehead University Steel Bridge Team placed first overall in the annual Midwest regional competition at the AISC/ASCE Student Steel Bridge Competition. Lakehead's team, the only Canadian team in the regional competition, was composed of: Damien Ch'ng, Dave Enns, Cory Goulet, Chris Kukkee, and Kristin Myles, with faculty advisors Dr. Tony Gillies and Dr. Timo Tikka. Lakehead's bridge building team placed first last year as well.
"Our team faced strong competition from eight other teams from universities in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin," says Dr. Tikka. "This is an excellent standing, and a hard-earned reward for the many hours that the students have devoted to their project. We are very proud of our students' efforts."
The competition challenges students to design and fabricate a steel bridge with a 21 foot long scale model that meets the 40 page specification manual provided to all teams. The bridge specifications change every year, constantly challenging the civil engineering skills of students from universities all over the United States and Canada. This year, the bridge was to be constructed over a scenic river, and had to carry utilities to a new state park welcome centre and campground.
The bridge models are erected under simulated field conditions and load-tested by the host-university students. Student planning must take into account what would be required to build a full-sized bridge, including material costs (weight), labour costs (construction time), traffic load (simulated test load), and performance (measured deflection under load).
Before the competition, the team designs and fabricates the bridge at Lakehead University.At the competition, spectators watch as teams race to assemble their bridges across a simulated river and wetlands.After construction, each bridge is weighed to determine the lightest bridge in the competition. Strength and stiffness are tested with 25lb lengths of steel angle that simulate a truck loaded with 2500 lbs. Because the placement of the loading is determined by the roll of a dice, the bridge design team had to anticipate six possible load scenarios.
The Lakehead bridge placed first in construction speed, first in construction economy, second in lightness, first for stiffness, first for structural efficiency and fifth for aesthetics, for an overall first place finish.
The Midwest first place ranking qualifies Lakehead for the U.S. National Steel Bridge Competition for the twelfth year.Approximately 45 teams will compete at the 2011 National Competition at Texas A&M University on May 21 - 22.Lakehead teams have an excellent record at the national level, placing second in 2002, fifth in 2003 and 2006, fourth in 2007, and third in both 2009 and 2010.
2011 Overall Midwest Region Competition Rankings
- Lakehead University
- University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
- Iowa State University
- University of Wisconsin, Platteville
- Minnesota State University, Mankato
- University of North Dakota
- North Dakota State University
- (tied) South Dakota State University
- (tied) University of Iowa
Lakehead Student Takes Second Place in Paper Competition
Raquel Almeida, a second-year civil engineering student, took second place in the Student Paper Competition for her paper, Risk and Uncertainty. Raquel used the historically significant Ironbridge as an example for her presentation. The bridge, constructed in 1779, spans England's River Severn, and is the first bridge built using iron.
The Lakehead bridge team is grateful for generous support from local companies, unions, and associations that helped them to participate in the regional competition. The team welcomes additional sponsors for the upcoming national competition in Texas Interested sponsors are encouraged to contact faculty advisors Tony Gillies or Timo Tikka at 343-8684.
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Media: Drs. Gillies and Tikka are available for interview by calling 343-8684. Student interviews can be arranged through the Department of Civil Engineering at 343-8684.
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 8,280 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit www.lakeheadu.ca