” University of Akron’s steel bridge team recently won first place in the regional competition, which was held on April 4 in Western Kentucky. Akron’s steel bridge team consists of civil engineers who are part of the engineering program. The team consists of 21 team members, including team captain, Michael Clements.””
University of Akron’s steel bridge team recently won first place in the regional competition, which was held on April 4 in Western Kentucky.
Akron’s steel bridge team consists of civil engineers who are part of the engineering program. The team consists of 21 team members, including team captain, Michael Clements.
The team placed first in six out of the seven categories they were judged on. The regional competition is the first that Akron has competed in since starting in August. Akron’s team competed against 12 other teams of whom, Youngstown took second place and Geneva College took third place. Some other teams that they compete against are Ohio State, Ohio University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Kentucky, Western Kentucky and the University of Cincinnati.
By winning the regional competition, UA’s steel bridge team will have the chance to compete at Nationals in Las Vegas on May 22-23, joined by Youngstown and Geneva College. Over the past couple years; Akron’s biggest competition has been Youngstown and Western Kentucky.
This year the team ranges from freshmen to seniors. Michael Frabotta, a junior and member of the winning team who competed at regionals, says We get a set of rules from the competition and design a bridge based on the rules. We build it out of steel and no piece is bigger than three feet. The time limit is 45 minutes.
The team uses a high-tech computer program that allows them to grasp the spacing and analysis of the bridge.
Frabotta explains, We get judged on how much the bridge weighs, the stiffness of the bridge (how much it deflects), how fast we put it together and how the bridge looks (aesthetics). Frabotta believes the most important criteria for judging are Construction economy and structural efficiency.
He says, construction economy is how many people built it and how long it took, and structural efficiency is the stiffness and weight of the bridge.
Frabotta believes that the team’s biggest obstacle to overcome in order to win nationals will be the fact that they are not as experienced as other teams who will be competiting. This is Akron’s first year heading to the national competition, and a couple of other schools have won two or three times in a row.Our biggest obstacle is that we will be going in blindfolded, Frabotta said.
Although this is not as big of a deal as winning a football or basketball national championship, we get bragging rights and it helps the College of Engineering, by making the school and engineering program look better, Frabotta said. He also believes that if the team wins, more students may want to join the team.
In Frabotta’s opinion, he believes the greatest benefit that comes from competing in an extracurricular activity such as this one is experience.
We learn computer programs that will help us in our careers, and we also are able to get our hands dirty and build bridges, he says.
Other schools get credit hours for participating in steel bridge competitions, but University of Akron students get no credits for doing this. Although they have a faculty advisor, it is basically 100% student-run, according to Frabotta.