May 29, 2009

Lafayette Places Seventh in Nation at Steel Bridge Competition

Civil engineering students were champions of the mid-Atlantic regional test

Lafayette’s steel bridge team took seventh place at the 2009 National Student Steel Bridge Competition May 22-23 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The team advanced to the nationals by winning the mid-Atlantic regional competition.

“This team did a tremendous job and deserves praise for a design that was nearly flawless. They did hundreds of computer models, developed professional-quality drawings, and fabricated a nearly perfect bridge,” says adviser Stephen Kurtz, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.

It’s the fourth time in the last five years that a Lafayette team has made it to nationals and the second-best finish ever to a No. 5 showing in 2007. The competition, which is sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction and the American Society of Civil Engineers, attracts more than 200 engineering schools to 19 regional competitions throughout the country. At the nationals, Lafayette was pitted against 47 teams that qualified to compete by placing first or second in regional tests.

The team included Paul Angelucci (Collingswood, N.J.), Kyle DeFranceschi (Catasauqua, Pa.), Kyle Henning (Rochester, N.Y.), Michael Lemken (Emerson, N.J.), and Sean McAuley (Staten Island, N.Y.), who all graduated May 23 with a B.S. in civil engineering, and W. Thomas Barlow ’12 (Bethlehem, Pa.). They worked on the project as an independent study.

Kurtz says the team’s objective is to produce a bridge that is of lowest cost according to the competition’s cost equation, which considers factors such as weight, stiffness, and construction speed. In the six competition categories, Lafayette finished fourth in economy, 12th in both construction speed and bridge lightness, and 14th in structural efficiency.

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