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Release: Immediate

UI engineering students finish ninth in national bridge-building contest

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa College of Engineering student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently placed ninth out of 40 teams competing in the 1997 National ASCE bridge building contest held at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Calif.

The UI chapter earlier qualified for the national competition by finishing second in the Steel Bridge Competition at the ASCE Upper Midwest Regional Conference in February at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

The UI ASCE bridge building team includes: Andrew Engler, of Evergreen, Colo.; Jason Imhof, Dubuque; Brad Ketels, Waterloo; Kenley Kyle, Carrollton, Tex.; Dave Schechinger, Harlan; and Kyle Zellers, Springfield, Ill. Other student team members playing key roles in the design of the bridge were Brian Boelk, Davenport; Tom Nagle, Waterloo; and Seth Romig, West Des Moines. Civil and environmental engineering faculty including Colby Swan, Malcolm Ray, Annmarie Eldering, Forrest Holly, and Jasbir Arora assisted the students with their design or attended the competitions. Steve Lasczak of the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research also assisted the students.

According to Holly, the competition called for teams to design and construct 20-foot-long steel bridges as light as possible (the UI entry weighed about 80 pounds) and yet able to support a load of 2,500 pounds with minimal deflection. Contest rules also stipulate fabrication, materials and specifications. The UI bridge was judged by such criteria as stiffness, lightness, efficiency, economy, aesthetics and speed of construction.

The UI team also was supported by the UI Student Government, the College of Engineering Student Council, the Engineering Dean's Office, five civil and environmental engineering faculty, and the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research, which provided space for the assembly of the bridge.