Saturday, January 29, 2022

UM to Host Regional Civil Engineering Conference

UM civil engineering students design and build steel bridges in competition.
UM civil engineering students design and build steel bridges in competition.

The University of Mississippi student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers is hosting the national organization’s Deep South Conference this month.

An estimated 300 participants from 13 schools in Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas are expected during the March 19-21 event. Areas of competition include concrete bowling, steel bridge design and construction, concrete canoe races, surveying, a mystery event and a technical paper. With the exceptions of the concrete canoe contest and surveying at Sardis Lake, all activities are set for the Oxford Conference Center.

“These events are designed to test participants’ engineering skills and teamwork ability,” said Grace Rushing of Oxford, chapter vice president and one of the conference coordinators.

During the concrete canoe competition, students must design, build and race a canoe made of concrete. The vessel must be durable and able to float after purposely being submerged in water. It also has to be light enough that it can be rowed easily and strong enough to hold four people.

“The overall winner of the event will go on to participate in the ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition with the best schools from across the nation,” Rushing said.

For the steel bridge competition, students must design a bridge that spans approximately 20 feet, can be quickly constructed and can withstand a maximum load of 2,400 pounds without failing. The team that wins locally will also be invited to the ASCE/AISC National Student Steel Bridge Competition.

For Thursday’s concrete bowling contest, students must design a bowling ball out of concrete that can be used to bowl three frames without breaking. Saturday afternoon’s technical paper competition will involve students presenting papers they have written on the topic “Should the engineer of record be held responsible for injury or death to builders or bystanders that occurs during the construction of his/her design.”

“For the mystery event, teams will be given the rules and materials needed to complete the task when they arrive on Thursday,” Rushing said. “They then have until Saturday to prepare for the contest, which will test their ingenuity and engineering abilities.

“The conference is a lot of fun, and everyone is very competitive. The designs are always creative and it’s amazing to see what participants build.”

For more information, email 2015ascedeepsouth@gmail.com or call 662-915-7191.

Courtesy of Edwin Smith Ole Miss News Desk

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