On Saturday, Feb 6th 2010, there was a bridge competition for undergraduate students in Tokyo Institute of Technology (東京工業大学). This was an intra-departmental bridge competition in Civil Engineering. The event was called BRICOM Japan 2010. The winner of BRICOM Japan will proceed to BRICOM Asia. There will be three countries participating in this BRICOM Asia: Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand. BRICOM Asia 2010 will be held at Kasertsart University, Thailand. The photos of BRICOM Asia and BRICOM Japan can be seen here.
Since my lab (Miki Laboratory) focuses its research on steel structure, especially steel bridge, so every year BRICOM Japan is held by my lab. And in this BRICOM Japan 2010 I was asked to help as a judge during the construction in the competition.
The participants of this competition were third year undergraduate students. There were six groups participating in this competition. Every team made their own bridge designs and then constructed them on the field within the limited time (30 minutes). After the bridges were constructed, the weight of the bridges was measured and then the bridges were loaded.
During the bridge construction, there were some groups who could construct their bridges really fast, but there were also some groups who could not finish constructing their bridges in the given time. Some of them divided their bridge components well and had good construction order so that they could construct their bridges quickly.
When the bridges were loaded, some bridges were too strong while the others were too weak. There was a bridge which became crooked when it was loaded, there was also a bridge which had lateral bending after it was loaded. One bridge swayed a lot when it was loaded.
The objective of the competition was to design a bridge which would deform 6mm when it was loaded with a 400kg load. There was one bridge which deformed a lot at first during the loading session, but as the loads were added, the deformation did not increase as much as before, and finally it got a final deformation of 5.95mm. It was really very close to the objective.
I think that this kind of competition is very good, the students can learn how to design and also construct a bridge. They can also learn how to arrange the construction work well so that the construction will be efficient. I hope that such competition can also be held at my home university.