Civil engineering seniors have established a winning dynasty within the Structural Engineering Institute’s annual Student Structural Design Competition. For the third consecutive year, a team of Villanova Engineers has won first prize for their senior capstone design project. Scott Albarella MSCE ’12, John Garland MSCE ’12, Stephen Kane MSCE ’12, Michael Mignella MSCE ’12, and Louis Ross MSCE ’12 will accept their award and present their project during the SEI/American Society of Civil Engineers Awards Luncheon at the Structures Congress in Chicago on March 29, 2012.
"We were gunning for this award since the beginning of the semester, and when we heard we won, we were ecstatic. We really wanted to carry on the tradition of winning first place in this competition. And now, instead of two banners in the structural design lab, there are three," laughs Ross.
The students entered their design of a US Rte. 67 Corridor Project Jerseyville Bypass Bridge. "We had to provide plans for a bridge, designing steel and concrete components as a real civil engineer would have," says Kane.
The group approached this project by first determining the types of automobiles that would cross the bridge. With this information, they began to design steel beams that would firmly hold up the bridge deck while simultaneously resisting construction, traffic, and wind loading in the future. "Calculating the composite section, which is the interaction between steel and concrete, we were able to determine the size, number of beams needed, and the thickness of the deck," says Mignella. After a couple of service checks for strength, deflection, and fatigue, the students used AutoCAD to draft a blueprint of a 140-foot bridge span, also known as a plate girder bridge.
With the help of Dr. David Dinehart, Assistant Chairman and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Dr. Joseph Yost PE, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and design teacher Mr. Zeyn Uzman, PE, SE, F.NSPE.,"we were able to take theory away from the classroom and apply it to the industry," says Ross. More than a senior design project, Albarella says, "It was a unique experience, a rewarding one, and we got a chance to leave the classroom and embark on a real-world project. This provided us with a window into the professional world of our future careers."
As a community of engineers within the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the SEI encourages networking opportunities and coordination between academia and engineering professionals. Through their various publications, journals, conferences, and continuing education programs, the SEI is committed to advancing the field of structural engineering.