The Steel Bridge team, from the Civil Engineering and Surveying Department (INCI) of the University of Mayagüez Campus (RUM), won first place overall at the Canadian National Steel Bridge Competition (CNSBC), an event held at Western Ontario University in Canada.
The collegiate group, composed of 14 students, achieved first place in the following categories: Lightness, Construction Economy, Cost Estimate, Construction Speed, and Circular Engineering. It also took third place in the Aesthetics category.
Prior to this first place, the students obtained third place in the regional competitions of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), which allowed them to qualify for the U.S. national competitions for the ninth consecutive year.
"These achievements represent the fruit of our efforts and long hours of work. Our team stands out for being one of the most dedicated teams at the University, as we have been meeting since last June to learn the different computer programs we need, the rules, methods of design, fabrication, construction, and assembly, among others. We are sacrificing time to study, quality time with our friends and families and giving 100 percent to have the opportunity to compete and achieve the highest position and the best performance possible, so it fills us with pride and satisfaction to see how, after so much sacrifice, we can achieve any goal we set for ourselves," said Joseph E. Gonzalez Ortiz, team captain and INCI student.
On this occasion, 13 universities from Canada, the United States, Mexico, Japan and Puerto Rico, represented by the students, competed.
"To have won an international competition is a source of pride for the school, because it indicates that our students are well prepared to perform in the field of engineering, they have the ability to make an efficient design that uses the least amount of materials and can build it in the shortest possible time. I must add that the students dedicate a lot of time working every day from 6:00 p.m. until late at night, including Saturdays and Sundays," said Dr. José O. Guevara, INCI professor and mentor of the group.
Dr. Agustín Rullán Toro, RUM rector, congratulated the young students for this triumph. "Year after year the members of the Steel Bridge team stand out in their performance in these international competitions. We feel great pride in their achievement and we know that what they have learned during the process will be a treasure for future life. Congratulations!" said the Rector.
The challenges of the event include designing, building and assembling a bridge made entirely of steel in 1:10 scale, which means that if it were to be carried out as a real project it would be ten times bigger.
"In addition, we have the challenge that each element of the bridge cannot be longer than three feet and six inches and must have a section that meets the standards provided. Also, we have the limit of designing around the river, road or obstacle that is placed on the ground, which is typically five to seven feet. This means that when it comes time to assemble the bridge, we cannot stand within the area, making the design and construction process difficult. We are evaluated through oral presentations, elevator pitch, technical poster design, stiffness and deflection, weight, construction time and number of people used to build the bridge. A ratio of stiffness and construction to cost is created and the bridge with the lowest cost is chosen and this is the one that wins," explained the group's captain.
He added that 49 universities will participate in the national competitions to be held on June 2 and 3.
"We are very happy with our performance, but we are going for more. We have the potential to perform even better at the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) U.S. National Competitions and none of this would be possible if all the team members were not on the same page and always giving their best. I want to congratulate all of them for their great work during this year, I am extremely proud of each person that makes up this great team. I also want to thank our lab technicians, our advisor, the Department Director and the sponsors for all the help they have given us during this long year. Then, now and always... College!" concluded Joseph.