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Civil engineering students first overall at regional competition

For the second year in a row, WKU civil engineers took first place overall at the Ohio Valley Student Conference.

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

WKU students Blake Adams (foreground) and Raymond Van Zee work on their regional champion balsa wood bridge.

WKU students Blake Adams (foreground) and Raymond Van Zee work on their regional champion balsa wood bridge.

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.

Environmental Engineering

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.

Steel Bridge

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 finished third overall in regional competition and advanced to the national competition.

The WKU Steel Bridge team finished third overall in regional competition and advanced to the national competition.

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.

Concrete Canoe

Team Courageous was inspired by a student battling cancer. The team finished third overall in the regional competition.

Team Courageous was inspired by a student battling cancer. WKU’s concrete canoe team finished third overall in the regional competition.

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 the energetic paddling events: endurance and sprint events for both men’s and women’s teams, plus a co-ed sprint event. The canoe team was judged on technical presentation, their cutaway model, and their display for the public.

Professor Matthew Dettman, team advisor, said: “This year’s canoe took on a special meaning after Robby was diagnosed with cancer. Watching his courage through chemotherapy and radiation treatment and his teammates rallying around him this year has been very inspirational.”

The 2013 canoe team also includes Josh Amos of Bowling Green, Jacob Belwood of Somerset, Robert Boarman of Owensboro, Walker Bruns of Atlanta, Elizabeth Chang de las Cuervas of Hillview, Seth Dawson of Trenton, Ethan Epperson of Nancy, Chad Grubb of Morgantown, Chris Heil of Winchester, Eathan Johnson of Hawesville, Colby Osborne of Brentwood, Tenn., Ian Tisdale of Bowling Green, Aaron Daley of Louisville, Daniel Skees of Louisville, Kirk Thomas of Hopkinsville, Michael Simpson of Park City, Tyler Sheffield of Dry Ridge, Brett Rice of Lexington, Trevor King of Derby, Ind., Justin Jernigan of Portland, Tenn., Megan Jones of Glasgow, Elizabeth Cardwell of Russellville.  The engraving of Courageous was programmed and executed by senior WKU electrical engineering student Jonathan Marques of Prospect.

In the concrete canoe competition, WKU finished third overall behind Youngstown State University and the University of Akron. The team placed third in oral presentation, second in final product, and third on the technical report. In canoe races, WKU finished first in men’s sprint; second in women’s sprint; third in coed sprint; and third in men’s and women’s endurance.

WKU surveying team members are (from left) Dylan Jones, Kent Jones and Michael Simpson.

WKU surveying team members are (from left) Dylan Jones, Kent Jones and Michael Simpson.

Surveying

Surveying team members include Michael Simpson of Glasgow, Kent Jones of Somerset and Dylan Jones of Berea. Dr. Ronald Gallagher said this year’s competition involved speed test set-up above a marked point on the ground, measuring elevations of points on the ground, determining interior angles of a traverse, and creating a hand-drafted paper drawing of the traverse with calculations.

Other events

The conference also included competitions in technical paper presentation, AutoCAD drawing, concrete horseshoes and a concrete softball bat competition.

  • Senior Aaron Daley of Louisville responded to the technical paper challenge: “Is it Ethical to Associate Credentials With Competency?”
  • AutoCAD team members Leonardo Calheiros of San Paulo, Brazil, and Dylan Jones of Berea created plan drawings of a parking lot and several small buildings.
  • ASCE faculty advisor Warren Campbell said junior Trevor King of Derby, Ind., “destroyed the competition” in the concrete horseshoe competition — which was to construct a reinforced concrete horseshoe and pitch it for distance and accuracy. Jordan Keeney and Kent Jones, both of Somerset, were also part of the concrete horseshoe squad.

    Members of the concrete bat team are (from left) Tyler Sheffield, Justin Jernigan and Jeremiah Baxley.

    Members of the concrete bat team are (from left) Tyler Sheffield, Justin Jernigan and Jeremiah Baxley.

  • WKU took second place at the tee in the concrete softball bat. The competition was to fabricate a reinforced concrete bat capable of hitting a ball the longest distance in 10 hits while still remaining intact. The BatTeam was Jeremiah Baxley of Hartford, Tyler Sheffield of Dry Ridge, and Justin Jernigan of Portland, Tenn.

Contact: Engineering Department, (270) 745-2461.

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