A team of construction engineering technology students placed second in the nation in the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute’s Big Beam Competition.The team took first place in its regional zone and came in behind Oregon State University to finish as runner-up during the summer contest.
The objective for teams: fabricate and test a precast/prestressed concrete beam with the help of a local Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute-certified precast concrete producer. It was the first time the University competed in this event.
The UT team partnered with Stress-Con Industries based in Kalamazoo, Mich.
“We were very fortunate to be able to work with Stress-Con Industries,” said John Morganstern, UT graduate student. “We had some trouble finding a company to partner with in the area, and we are very thankful that Stress-Con agreed to work with us; it was a great opportunity.”
Morganstern learned of the competition from Dr. Doug Nims, UT professor of civil engineering. Morganstern put together the rest of the team, which began work in fall 2013.
“It was an incredibly long process from start to finish, but we worked extremely hard to meet the judging criteria of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, and we are very proud of all the hard work we put in and the result of the competition,” Morganstern said.
The institute selects winners based on how well teams meet the judging criteria, some of which included maximum load, cracking load, and most accurate results for predicted deflection.
Last spring, the team was able to test its design at the University of Michigan’s Structural Engineering Laboratory in Ann Arbor.
“We would like to thank the University of Michigan and Professor James Wight, who helped us test the beam and let us use the lab,” Morganstern said.
The beam was able to hold an ultimate load of 38,597 pounds, just under the team’s predicted load of 39,299 pounds.
As a result of the victory, the team was awarded a cash prize that was split among the teammates: Morganstern, Kyle Corbin, Richard Crace and Khalid Al-Fahim, all construction engineering technology majors. Nims appointed civil engineering graduate student Owjan Hashtroodi to oversee the project.
“I am very proud of the effort the team put into this project; they pulled all-nighters a number of times and overcame obstacles to complete their goal,” Nims said.