Civil engineering team heads to San Diego

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A team of eight California Baptist University civil engineering students worked overtime during spring break putting the final touches on the junior class steel-bridge project. They will participate in a competition at the 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers Pacific South West Conference.

The PSWC is an event that brings together 18 ASCE chapters from various colleges on the West Coast reaching as far as the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

This year, San Diego State University will be hosting the 2014 ASCE PSWC April 3-5. CBU’s ASCE chapter will be participating in the steel-bridge competition April 5 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The purpose of the conference is for students to network and demonstrate their diverse skills through various competitions.

The focus event for CBU’s ASCE chapter is the steel-bridge competition. The competition requires a team of students from each school to design a steel bridge that spans across a 17-foot theoretical river. They must then purchase and bring the materials necessary to the competition, and on the day of the event construct the bridge within a set time.

“It started last semester; we would have meetings once to twice a week just on reading through the rules,” said team captain Catalina Quiroz, junior civil engineering major. “The rules are  very specific on how to construct the bridge. We had to interpret the rules and come up with a design.”

Quiroz explained some of the challenges they will face during the steel bridge competition.

“It’s a timed event, how fast you can construct it,” Quiroz said. “There is a theoretical river that it needs to be constructed over. We are actually limited to where we can stand. There will be markings on the floor (symbolizing a river) so if you drop a piece that goes into the river you get docked points on your total score.”

Team member Steven Bell, junior civil engineering major, has been involved in both the design portion as well as helping the team in constructing the bridge.

“This year’s bridge is a duel-decking surface bridge and it’s the first time in 14 years (PSWC) have done this bridge in the competition,” Bell said. “We had about four different designs and after doing an analysis on it, we thought that this would be the best design.”

Bell explained that the duel-decking bridge is like a bridge within a bridge and said he appreciates how this particular design has not been used in recent years, which allows for an original style.

“It’s been an adventure,” Bell said. “It’s nice to see something come from nothing, which is one reason why I joined civil (engineering). You have a full array of endless possibilities.”

Co-design captain and team member Kaitlyn Hayner, junior civil engineering major, spoke about how everyone on the team has been going to the lab and working to make sure the bridge comes together.

“Some people have work or conflicts, but most of us are completely putting everything into it,” Hayner said. “It’s a good team.”

About Joshua Salazar

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