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Next stop is the national competition May 22-23 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Lafayette’s Steel Bridge Team won the Mid-Atlantic Steel Bridge Competition earlier this month, and qualified for the 2009 National Steel Bridge competition held May 22-23 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

This is the fourth time in the past five years that a Lafayette team has made it to nationals. In 2007, the team finished fifth at the national level. The competition, which is sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), attracts over 200 engineering schools nationally to the regional level. From these regional competitions, approximately 40 teams qualify for the national competition.

At the regional competition, Lafayette beat teams from the University of Delaware, Drexel University, Penn State University, Bucknell University, Lehigh University, Swarthmore College, University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, Temple University, and Widener University.

Lafayette’s design team is comprised of senior civil engineering majors Paul Angelucci (Collingswood, N.J.), Kyle Henning (Rochester, N.Y.), Kyle DeFranceschi (Catasauqua, Pa.), Michael Lemken (Emerson, N.J.), and Sean McAuley (Staten Island, N.Y.), and W. Thomas Barlow ’12 (Bethlehem, Pa.). The students are working on the project as an independent study with Stephen Kurtz, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, as their adviser.

The team devoted the fall semester to design work, which consisted of hundreds of computer structural models, each of which was evaluated with respect to the competition’s scoring rules. The team began fabricating in earnest at the beginning of the spring semester, using the structures lab in Acopian Engineering Center.

“The overall objective of the competition is to produce a bridge that is of lowest cost, according to the competition’s cost equation,” says Kurtz. “The cost equation considers the weight, stiffness, and construction speed.”

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