The steel bridge team of the University of Nevada, Reno begin in the mid-1990s and won the national competition in 1999. Since then the team has competed annually in the regional competition consisting of schools in Northern California to Fresno, the University of Nevada, Reno, and schools from overseas in China.
Each year, a small group of civil engineers design and construct a bridge of steel material in regards to a set of specifications created by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Institute of Steel Construction. The rules come out in the fall, and by spring a bridge must be constructed and ready to be loaded. The bridge is then judged based on display, construction speed, lightness, stiffness, construction economy, structural efficiency, and overall performance.
Members of the Steel Bridge Team get to learn how to design a bridge, and how to analyze it using different computer programs. The 2015-2016 bridge team utilized AutoCAD for design, and SAP for analysis. Following design completion students get to learn to work with steel material, with the help of a professional local welder. For construction, a team of students are brought together to practice and compete in order to smoothly construct the bridge in a certain amount of time.
This year’s Mid Pacific Competition will be hosted on Reno’s home turf, with the steel bridge competition on Friday April 8th, 2016. With a team of nine students, UNR’s team plans on improving the school standings from previous years.