PSU Steel Bridge Team Performs Well at Nationals

PSU Steel Bridge Team had a great performance this year.

They won first place at the regional competition among 16 teams from six states, which allowed PSU to qualify for the Nationals for the first time since 2012.

They just returned from the National competition, where they placed 14th among 42 teams from four different countries. They improved their performance by 30 percent between the Regionals and the Nationals by decreasing the assembly time and avoiding some of the penalties.

Steel Bridge is an annual competition for the ASCE for which students are tasked with designing and fabricating a steel bridge on a 1:20 scale.

Teams are judged on how long it takes to assemble the bridge, how much its weigh and how much it deflects under a certain vertical load. That is why the main focus of the team this year was improving on connections in order to decrease the deflection and to ease the assembly.

Some facts about 2018 PSU Steel Bridge:

  • Weighs 180 pounds
  • Spans 17 feet
  • Deflects 0.3 - 0.4 inches at midspan under 2500lb load (depends on a load case).
  • Consists of 35 members, 27 bolts and four types of custom designed connections.
  • Takes three people 6-8 minutes to assemble over an imaginary river (depends on a day!).