We are a team of undergraduate students at the University of Idaho who compete annually in the Student Steel Bridge Competition organized by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). This is a year long project where we apply engineering concepts we learn in our classes to a real world scenario.
At the start of the year, we receive a set of rules that mimic the same kind of contract we'll likely be working with in the future. From these rules, and using skills we learn in class, we design our scale model bridge. We attempt to minimize our cost as determined by the scoring, which changes each year with the rules. Once we're satisfied with our design, we move to the next step, which is gathering materials and building our bridge. We work in the shop using our design and drawings to construct it, and when we go to the competition, we are tested and timed during its construction. The bridge is also load tested, where we put 2,500 pounds on it to test how sturdy it is.
The competition is meant to give us experience in an engineering project that replicates real world situations, and it's a great way for us to apply the knowledge and skills we are gathering in class. Your support helps our students get to the conference in order to showcase their skills and participate in various networking opportunities.