About Steel Bridge
Every year, dedicated FIU ASCE members, create a team to design, fabricate, and assemble a 20-ft steel bridge to compete at the ASCE Conference. Like if engineering classes weren’t hard enough already, these students, for several months work hard on creating a masterpiece that will represent not only their student chapter but their university as a whole.
Why Join Steel Bridge
Steel bridge is more than just a competition at the ASCE Conference. It is a great way to have fun while obtaining knowledge that will be helpful in the future. It is a chance for students to have hands-on experience and applying concepts that they have learned in their classes. For freshmen, who have not taken Civil Engineering specific classes yet, it is a chance to learn many static, fabrication and building concepts before they even take their core classes. It is also a great way to experience working on a big group project, which will help develop planning, organization, delegation, and communication skills. And on top of all, it is the most incredible way to network and create wonderful friendships.
The project finally starts when the competition rules are released. The rules explain all the regulations that need to follow in order to create an acceptable bridge (2017-18 SB Rules). The students get familiar with the rules and get together to start the long journey of designing, fabricating and fast-building.
The design part of the project is the most challenging step into getting a successful bridge. Students set up schedules to meet up to brainstorm ideas that will allow the bridge to meet requirements, look aesthetically pleasing and be efficient to build.
The fabrication process is where students can see how their design comes to life. Students get to contact companies and understand how some businesses work. They also get hands-on experience with machines in the specialized labs that cut, weld, grind, press steel etc.
Fast Building Practice
After the fabrication step, students practice for countless hours to perfect the assembly process and become as fast as possible. Practice is a crucial point of the journey because the less time it takes them to assemble their bridge, the better they will place in the competition.
Southeastern Conference – Display & Fast-Building Competition
At the first day of conference, the team gets to assemble the bridge for display purposes. All schools are allowed to wander around and look at other school’s bridges and network. The day after consists of the fast-building competition, where teams can show how much they have practice and try to achieve the best time. After the bridge has been assembled, the judges walk around the bridge to make sure it meets all requirements. If the bridge passes, then it can be carried out to be tested with loads and see how much weight it can handle.