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Civil Engineers Participate in Competitive Conference

July 19, 2010

The UW Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers had a successful outing at the Student Conference held in Las Cruces, New Mexico on April 8-10, 2010. Twenty eight students ranging from sophomores to seniors attended the event. Every student was involved in some aspect of the conference activities. There are seven primary activities associated with the Student Conference (which many people will remember as the ASCE Regional Conference), a technical paper, a non–technical paper, a Pre–design competition, a Canstruction, a Mystery design, and the well-known Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge competitions.


The two-week workshop beginning July 11, is an initiative of Professor Sadrul Ula of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and offers participants hands on training and instruction from engineering and education faculty utilizing engineering based teaching and activity modules adapted by the Wyoming Electric Motor Training and Testing Center.

The Canstruction Project was a “Landmark.” Jessica Troemner, Centennial, Colorado, and her team built Devil’s Tower. Afterward, the cans are donated to the local food bank.

Allysa Hitshew from Laramie, Wyoming, led the Pre–design contest with a hydraulic ram pump. This interesting device takes a low head and relatively high flow rate to pump water to a high head with a low flow rate based on water hammer and valving. It is an intriguing design, not at all common, but useful in some situations. In this case, the driving water had a head of six feet and lifted the water to 32 feet. With her team’s innovative design, they took first place.

James Winters from Pinedale, Wyoming, was the concrete canoe chair. He presented his talk at breakneck speed, showed mastery of his material and was awarded third place for presentation and for paper. He and his team tried a new geotextile with a triangular pattern rather than rectangular, but placement problems still occurred and there was a significant central bending deformation when the canoe was on the display stands. When it was loaded back on the trailer, it became another articulated two section canoe.

pic 1Matt Vickrey based his technical paper on the connections for the steel bridge, which he worked on extensively in the fall and his team constructed during the spring. The design was significant, however, because while not having the fastest construction this year as in the past, the bridge was first in stiffness and second in lightness. These combined to make the most efficient bridge and when combined with the first place display, the bridge came in second place overall. The team is heading to Purdue University for the National Competition, the fifth national competition in ten years.

Overall, the student chapter came in fourth place overall, an excellent showing from the fourteen schools in the region which extends from New Mexico to South Dakota and Utah. Congratulations Team!

UW civil engineering students made a good showing at the recent ASCE Conference. Bridge team members include: Ryan Wells, Fort Collins, Colo.; Aaron Triebenbach, Rochester, Minn.; Collin Fossen, Lander, Wyo.; Matt Wilder, Byron, Wyo.; and Matt Vickrey, Strasburg, Colo., courtesy photos.


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