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05-09-2005

Clarkson Timber Bridge Team Wins Most Innovative Design Award In National Competition

The Clarkson University Timber Bridge Team received first place for Most Innovative Design in the 13th Annual National Timber Bridge Design Competition. Competing against 12 student teams from universities across the U.S., the Clarkson students also finished in fourth place overall and in sixth place for Best Overall Design. This is the second year in a row that the Clarkson team has been recognized with a first-place finish.

The national competition is open to student chapters of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and Forest Products Society. Each participating student team must design, construct and test a bridge on their home campus. The bridge must be built following strict measurement and materials guidelines and has to support a load capacity of 4,500 pounds with minimal deflection at the bridge's center. Teams then submit documentation of their activities and results to competition headquarters where engineers judge bridge support structures, deck design, practicality, innovation and aesthetic appeal.

“I am extremely proud of how well our team has done this year,” said Jared Heinl, graduating senior and team captain. “The Most Innovative Design award is one of the more desirable awards and we were very pleased to take the first place spot once again. Designing the bridge to meet very stringent requirements, especially regarding the deflection, was probably our biggest challenge. We had a great team this year with many skilled builders so construction went quickly with very few problems. The Clarkson team has been making a name for itself in the competition these past few years and I am looking forward to seeing what the team can come up with for next year’s competition.”

The Southwest Mississippi Resource Conservation and Development Inc. coordinates the competition, with funding support from the U.S. Forest Service, the Southern Forest Products Association, Unit Structures LLC, Weyerhaeuser Co., and the ASCE Structural Engineering Institute.

The Timber Bridge Team is one of the University's SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) programs, which promotes multidisciplinary, project-based learning opportunities. SPEED projects involve more than 250 undergraduates annually in engineering design and analysis, fabrication and the enhancement of professional competencies such as budget management, effective teamwork, and communication skills. The SPEED program is one of the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering hallmark initiatives promoting the "Vision of a Clarkson Education" through experiential learning by hands-on application of academic theory to real-world problems.

SPEED receives its primary financial support from Alcoa, Corning, Eastman Kodak, the General Electric Fund, and Procter & Gamble. SPEED was recognized with the 2001 Boeing Outstanding Educator Award and the 2002 Corporate and Foundation Alliance Award for its exceptional contributions to improving undergraduate engineering education.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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