Feature Stories

Steel Bridge Team Excels at Nationals

The NJIT Steel Bridge Team took a first place category prize at nationals.

The Steel Bridge Team took a first place prize at the National Steel Bridge Building Contest. The team won in the category of stiffness, which is awarded to the bridge with the lowest deflection.

Deflection is the sag or stretch of a bridge under the weight of a load, which in this contest was 2,500 pounds. The NJIT bridge deflected the least of all the bridges in the contest. It was the first time an NJIT team took first place in a category during the National Contest, which was held May 31 and June 1 at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The team placed 12th overall, which was the highest ranking ever by an NJIT team. A total of  214 teams entered this year's regional competitions, with 49 teams competing in nationals. 

"With this achievement, NJIT has earned a rightful place among the very top tier of civil engineering programs in the country," said John Schuring, a professor of civil engineering who for decades has advised the steel bridge teams.

The team’s success is testimony to the excellence of its bridge design, which is a cantilevered, split-scissors deck truss with a haunched support, added Schuring. He noted also that the team assembled the bridge at nationals in 8:47, which was the fastest time they recorded this year. Usually when a team builds that fast, they accrue  penalties for dropping bolts and other mishaps. But this team achieved that time with no penalties -- another first for NJIT. 

"Without a doubt our Steel Bridge Team continues an upward trajectory,” said Schuring. “Our team members also had ample opportunity to meet hundreds of  students from other top engineering schools across the U.S. And in the end just being invited to the national bridge contest is a reward in itself, since it allowed our students to experience the most exciting civil engineering contest in the country."

By Robert Florida