WKU students finished first in balsa wood bridge building, second in environmental engineering, third in steel bridge and concrete canoe and fared well in other events — concrete horseshoes, concrete softball bat, technical presentation, surveying and AutoCAD — at the regional competition April 4-6 in Cleveland, Ohio.
The WKU steel bridge team qualified for the national competition May 31-June 1 in Seattle.
Forty-seven members of the WKU Civil Engineering program and four faculty members traveled to Cleveland for the ASCE Ohio Valley Student Conference. WKU finished ahead of 13 other schools – Akron, Carnegie Mellon, Cincinnati, Cincinnati State, Cleveland State, Dayton, Geneva, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State, Ohio, Pittsburgh and Youngstown State. The 2014 Ohio Valley Student Conference will be held at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh.
More information on each competition follows:
Balsa Wood Bridge Building
Sophomores Raymond Van Zee of Russellville and Adam “Blake” Adams of Monticello designed and built a model of a wooden covered bridge for a proposed nature center in the Cuyahoga Valley Recreation Area. Then they tested its capacity … until it broke. Using only 1/8-inch by 1/8-inch balsa wood with glued joints, their bridge carried 22 pounds. Their bridge won the competition. Dr. Warren Campbell, team advisor, said: “WKU had the best strength to weight ratio of any bridge in the competition.” Juniors Colby Osborne of Brentwood, Tenn., and Michael Pickett of Radcliff also built a balsa wood bridge for the regional competition.
In the environmental engineering competition, WKU finished second overall behind Akron. Team members include Jordan Begley, Michael Doyel and Omar Ramadan, all of Bowling Green; and Anna Zhidkova of Russia, all seniors. The competition was to create a filtration device to treat stormwater to remove phosphorus, lower the turbidity (cloudiness) of the water, and adjust the pH level. Devices were judged on sustainability and were limited to general purpose items—no special pool chemicals allowed. The winning WKU device, with Begley’s clever use of pill caddies to create stilling chambers, took second place in the regional competition.
Led by seniors Clayton Cook of Worthville and Dylan Ward of Hartford, the WKU Steel Bridge team designed and constructed (multiple times) a 1:10 scale model of a bridge connecting a vibrant new downtown district with growing suburbs across the river. In the fictitious scenario for this project, the bridge is intended to be “an attractive signature structure … with clearance for tour boats, and [it] will cantilever over the historically significant billiard parlor.” Right there in River City! The 17-foot-long bridges must use recycled materials and be assembled quickly, with limited access via “narrow and thinly paved urban streets.”
The WKU Steel Bridge team placed first in stiffness and bridge display; second in lightness and bridge deficiencies; and third in construction speed. WKU finished third overall and will compete in the National Student Steel Bridge Competition at the University of Washington May 31-June 1.
Dr. Shane Palmquist, team advisor, said: “The students worked hard this year building the finest bridge WKU has made in the last decade.”
Other steel bridge team members are Josh Clemmons of Park City; Michael Doyel and Omar Ramadan, both of Bowling Green; Josh Rodgers of West Point; Yulizza Henao Barragan of Medellin, Colombia; Jordan Begley of Somerset; Jacob Martin of Shelbyville; Leonardo Calheiros and Luiz Pego, both of Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Liz Chang of Louisville.
Seniors Aaron Dockery of Somerset (team captain) and Emily Mesker of Hiseville (assistant captain) led the Concrete Canoe team in the design, construction, presentation and paddling of Courageous. At 186 pounds, it is one of the lightest canoes WKU Engineering has ever made.
Team Courageous, inspired by a fellow civil engineering student battling cancer this year, included raising cancer awareness in their team goals. Decorated with quotes about living with cancer, the bright white hull also represented a fresh new hull design, emphasizing speed while maintaining just enough stability to keep the engineers inside the canoe during