Steel Bridge is a student-run project team that designs and builds a 21' model bridge. In 2023, we earned third place at our regional competition and eighth place at the National Student Steel Bridge Competition, hosted at UC San Diego. Our success from this year serves as motivation for the team for this upcoming year!
Design & Analysis
The design & analysis team designs the bridge based on the new rules released each year by SSBC (Student Steel Bridge Contest) rules committee. During fall quarter the team uses SAP2000 and Solidworks to design a bridge with optimized stiffness and constructability.
During winter quarter the fabrication team manufactures the bridge using different techniques and tools including welding, grinding, drill press, laser cutting, and many more. Prior experience is optional to participate in this process as we provide safety training and practice to new members. Fabrication offers a hands-on opportunity to bring a design to life and how to design for manufacturability.
Another section of the scoring of the competition includes the construction cost of the bridge. The teams with the fastest construction time and the least penalties and builders will have the lowest construction cost. The bridge has roughly fifty members and can have up to six builders to construct it, but each year the challenges the construction team faces change with the new rules. This past year, we had a two-person construction team at the National Finals and they built the bridge over a 7' river. This year, the river has increased to 8' and teams have the option of having a builder labeled as a barge in the river.
Student Steel Bridge Competition
The team competes at two events each year hosted by AISC and ASCE. Our regional competition, the Pacific Southwest Symposium (PSWS), takes place at the beginning of Spring Quarter, while the National Finals are typically held during Memorial Day weekend. Each event is an incredible learning and networking opportunity where our team gets to meet other engineering students and professionals from around North America.
Last year, we were extremely proud of our accomplishments, with a 3rd place finish at PSWS and an 8th place finish at Nationals, as well as 2nd place nationally for structural efficiency and stiffness. We are excited to continue our team's success in the coming year, and look forward to attending PSWS hosted by UH Manoa.
Why Join UCSD Steel Bridge?
- Don't need any experience to join
- Best way to learn!
- Learn the power & fun of engineering
- Great community
- Leadership potential
- Networking opportunities