Concrete canoe and steel bridge competitions were the highlights of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Conference, hosted last week by The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. UTC engineering students competed against students from Auburn, University of Alabama, University of Florida, University of Miami, University of Tennessee Knoxville, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Twenty-seven colleges and universities in all attended.
UTC ranked 11th for all competitions and overall, beating teams from Vanderbilt University, Tennessee Tech, and University of Alabama. In the Concrete Canoe Competition, UTC came in at 13, ahead of Tennessee Tech, Auburn University, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Visit the Southeast Conference ASCE 2015 to view all the rankings.
Tests were conducted on the steel bridge entries in Maclellan Gym. Two of the tests measured the amount of deflection or movement each steel bridge will endure under force.
“In the vertical test, force is added to the top of the structure and it has to hold the weight,” said Elizabeth Nelson, a UTC chemical engineering student who helped plan the conference. “If the bridge drops too much with the force on top, the bridge fails the test. In the horizontal deflection test, force pulls the bridge. It cannot tilt from the original position.”
An interdisciplinary team of engineering students created the UTC steel bridge entry, led by students Bethany Griffin and Elliot Thaxton. Thaxton said each steel “member” of the bridge’s structure cannot exceed 15 pounds and 36 inches in length. He said he enjoyed working with the team to plan and build the UTC entry.
“You grow respect for everyone’s discipline,” he said. “In a professional setting, projects require input from different engineering disciplines. Everyone involved looks at the project from a different perspective.”
Teams displayed their concrete canoes on campus in Heritage Plaza. The canoes were placed in a “swamp box” filled with water to see if they float.
The canoes were launched into the chilly waters of Chester Frost Park, where men’s, women’s and co-ed races were conducted.