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KU steel bridge team prepares for engineering endeavor

Thu, 04/04/2013

LAWRENCE — A team of six University of Kansas School of Engineering students is putting the finishing touches on its entry for the 2013 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) steel bridge competition, set for April 4-6 on the campus of Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Ill. 

Teams are challenged to construct a bridge that’s at least 19-inches high that can support up to 2,500 pounds. Teams earn higher point totals for how fast they assemble the bridge, how well it maintains stability when weight is applied, and how few team members assist during construction.

The Jayhawk team this year is bracing for longer construction times due to a significant rule change.

“ASCE this year closed a loophole and outlawed interlocking connections. In past competitions, teams built their bridge components to slide together and lock into place. The bolts between pieces were simply for show, so teams could just breeze through their construction. Now, teams will have to take time to bolt each piece and won’t be to simply lock everything tight on the fly,” said Zach Olson, team captain and a junior in civil engineering from Ellsworth.

Three people will work during the competition to construct KU’s bridge, which must support 1,500 pounds on its main span and an additional 1,000 pounds on a section known as a cantilever that extends without direct support at least 3 ½ feet over an area designated as a body of water. As weight is added, if the bridge shifts, slides or sags more than 1 inch, the team loses points.

“Our model says our bridge is extremely stiff, so we’re confident it will support the weight and we won’t get penalized,” Olson said. “Our main concern at this point is getting faster at assembling the bridge.  We’ve been practicing a lot over the last few days and have nearly cut our construction time in half.  We hope to be around 15 minutes during the competition, which should be a great time, especially since teams are no longer allowed to use interlocking pieces.”

KU is one of 12 teams heading to regionals. Placing in the top three will earn a spot at the national competition in late May at the University of Washington in Seattle.

“This is a super exciting project, especially for anyone in civil, architectural, structural engineering. It allows for a ton of creativity. We can dream up all kinds of ideas and see what works,” Olson said.  “It’s a great project and a great learning experience from concept to completion.”

 



Matt Menzenski, a graduate student in Slavic languages & literatures, took this photo during President Obama’s speech at KU Thursday. Menzenski says he was struck by how relaxed the president was in his delivery. He missed a chance to hear former President Bill Clinton speak in his hometown in 2004, but finally got to see a sitting president this week at KU. “The opportunity to hear the president speak is just one of many great opportunities I've had at KU. So many interesting talks and events happen here all the time. I try to attend at least one a week-- it's never hard to find something interesting to go to.” Tags: University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences KU School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures KU Dept of Slavic Languages - Friends & Alumni Barack Obama The White House #exploreKU #POTUSatKU

#KUfacts : KU research helps explain the debut of insect life on Earth. http://t.co/TJO1X97nFM #KUdiscoveries #evolution #biodiversity
Explore KU: The Bells of Mount Oread KU’s Campanile, a 120-foot-tall timepiece that tolls automatically on the hour and quarter-hour, not only sounded in the 2015 New Year at midnight with 12 mighty gongs, but also regularly rings up memories for many Jayhawks – the 277 faculty and students who gave their lives during World War II, the graduates who walk through its doors at commencement, and aspiring students who have strolled through the Lawrence campus. (See http://bit.ly/1xjjwJj). For nearly 60 years, KU’s 53-bell carillon has been tolling the sounds of peace and serenity across Mount Oread since it was installed in June 1955 inside the landmark World War II Memorial Campanile, which was dedicated in 1951. (See http://bit.ly/1BoL9jv) The carillon is also a four-octave musical instrument, which is played with a giant keyboard and foot pedals. University Carillonneur Elizabeth Egber-Berghout (http://bit.ly/14fiBPl), associate professor of carillon and organ, climbs 77 steps up a spiral staircase in the bell tower to perform recitals several times a month.


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