Civil Engineering Competitions: Concrete Canoe & Steel Bridge

The YSU American Society of Civil Engineers has been hard at work this year. The concrete canoe and steel bridge teams competed well at the Ohio Valley Student Conference in Columbus, Ohio (The Ohio State University) in April.

Concrete Canoe

The concrete canoe team placed second overall out of nine teams at their regional competition.

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There are four main categories for judging: design paper, oral presentation, final product, and racing.

2nd in design paper

4th in oral presentation

2nd in final product

2nd in racing

1st in men’s sprint
2nd in men’s endurance
3rd in women’s sprint
3rd in women’s endurance
2nd in coed sprint

The endurance races include a 100 m slalom with 500 m of additional course.

Men’s and women’s sprints are two 100 m straights with a 180 degree turn in between.

Both men’s and women’s races have two people in the canoe at a time.

The coed sprint has two men and two women in the boat, and the team must altogether complete 400 m of straight and three 180 degree turns.

Other schools in the competition included the University of Akron, Western Kentucky University, University of Cincinnati, University of Louisville, Cincinnati State University, University of Pittsburgh, Ohio University, and Ohio State University.

YSU team members included Miranda DeFuria (captain), Thomas Carnes, David Mendenhall, Leah McConnell, Karen Schilling, Nico Pagley, Gregory Lipp, Spencer DeSalvo, Kelly Hollis, Taylor Monroe, Jacob Millerleile, Julian Rosales, Montana Gessler, and Kenneth Anderson.

Steel Bridge

For this competition, students must design a 20′ scale bridge of a 200′ bridge. There are various design constraints that are given each year that present new challenges and are given in attempt to make this design experience as close to a real-life situation as possible.

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The factors that decide the score are as follows:

  • the weight of the bridge
  • the amount that the bridge deflects when loaded with 2500 pounds
  • how quickly the bridge can be assembled at the competition
  • the appearance of the bridge

The YSU team placed first overall

1st in lightness

1st in display

1st in structural efficiency

2nd in construction speed

2nd in construction economy

4th in stiffness

The team members included Tommy Carnes (captain), David Mendenhall, Leah McConnell, Karen Schilling, Nico Pagley, Greg Lipp, Spencer DeSalvo, Miranda DeFuria, Montana Gessler, and Kenny Anderson.

Nationals are being hosted by Oregon State University May 26-27.

Internship Experience: Taylor Simcox

The College of STEM at Youngstown State University focuses a lot of time and energy on promoting internships and hands-on experience for its students. The students gain valuable knowledge through this work because it is more than just an extension of their education. Taylor Simcox, a recent civil engineering graduate, explained the importance of her internship experience with us.

Taylor interned at Union Metal Corporation in Canton, Ohio, starting in the fall of 2015. The primary focus of her job was designing poles that support traffic lights.

“Designing poles sounded like the most boring job on the planet and to be completely honest, I didn’t know poles required engineering,” said Taylor, thinking back on her first impressions of the job.

She had expected to be given intern-level responsibilities at Union Metal. After all, she was an undergraduate student working as a part-time, temporary employee. As time went by, Taylor learned and grew with the company, taking on a bigger role and handling more responsibilities.

“In the spring I was assigned my own state, meaning I would handle all calculations and drawings that came through for the state of New York,” she said. “This was usually reserved for full-time, experienced engineers.”

She continued to grow within the company, working hard and taking on more responsibilities as a professional engineer.

Taylor accepted a full-time position at Union Metal in June 2016, just before graduating in August. She plans to continue her education in the near future by pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

At YSU STEM, student success is a big deal. We’d like to congratulate Taylor and wish her well for the future, and we’d like to leave you with a bit of advice from her:

“You have to express how you feel to your superiors. If you feel like you’re not getting enough work or if the work isn’t challenging enough, tell them. Show interest and ask questions, bug the right people for more responsibilities, and never let anyone tell you that you aren’t old enough or in the correct class level to apply for an internship.”

Taylor with concrete canoe

Student Organization Spotlight: The American Society of Civil Engineers

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The American Society of Civil Engineers Youngstown State University Student Chapter is an organization for engineering students of all disciplines.

The main focus of the group, besides bringing YSU’s engineering students together, is building and preparing for the steel bridge and concrete canoe competitions. All of this preparation has paid off for them this year; they won first place at the Ohio Valley Student Conference for their steel bridge.

“The steel bridge competition is a cost analysis sort of thing,” said Leah McConnell, president of YSU’s ASCE. “So we fabricate this bridge and they do a load test—they measure how much it deflects and they also do a side sway test to see how much it moves from side to side.”

For the steel bridge competition, students compete to make the strongest bridge with the lowest cost.

“Our bridge cost a little bit over six million dollars total and then the next lowest cost was about eight million dollars,” said Leah. “So we beat all the other schools by about two million dollars, which is pretty impressive.”

YSU’s ASCE won $1000 for coming in first place at the regional steel bridge competition. They plan to use the money toward their trip to the national conference that they qualified for.

Any engineering students at YSU are welcome to join the ASCE. They have weekly meetings and compete in regular events against other schools across the country.

“We have a great group of people,” said Leah. “We really do become like a family since we spend so much time together.”

For more information, contact Leah at lmcconnell@student.ysu.edu or Dr. Islam at aaislam@ysu.edu.

Faculty Faction: Jai Jung

20150921_103237_This semester YSU STEM welcomed Dr. Jai Jung as an assistant professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.

Dr. Jung joins our STEM faculty after finishing his time at Virginia Tech and the University of Waterloo, Canada, as a post-doctoral research fellow and associate where he researched trenchless technology and sustainable infrastructure management.

“Because of our existing underground infrastructure, underground utility infrastructures, including drinking water, wastewater, oil and gas lines in the United States, are deteriorating very fast and became a major problem for the governments,” Dr. Jung said. “I would like to improve and renovate our underground infrastructure, and I see a lot of opportunities in this area. That’s why I’m in a Geotechnical Engineering field.”

Dr. Jung said that eventually he would be like to be known as one of the best underground infrastructurer researchers, and he is doing some impressive research projects even though he just began his time at YSU.

“I am working on the watertight non-metal manhole system, which is designed to eliminate unwanted flows at the manhole cover and chimney area to minimize pavement degradation and sinkage around the manhole,” Dr. Jung said. “The results of this study will be used to develop further understanding of pavement degradation due to cyclic loads around manholes, investigate the effect of soil in sanitary sewer systems, and carry out life-cycle cost analysis for manhole cover system and pavement.”

The second project he’s working on is nondestructive testing for structure.

“The main objective of this project is to improve the interpretation of nondestructive condition assessment techniques for pipelines using acoustic signal processing technology,” Dr. Jung said. “Current acoustic fiber optic (AFO) monitoring can supply a pipe owner with sufficient warning to avoid a pipeline failure only when the information supplied by AFO is used to initiate an emergency pipeline shutdown fairly quickly.”

Dr. Jung said that the purpose of this research is to further research acoustic signal processing to advance the practical use of the AFO technology for water and wastewater pipeline condition assessment.

“An ultimate objective of this research is to build a foundation for integrating wire break detection, leak detection, and wall thickness detection analyses into one single interpretation system,” he said. “Utilizing these three capabilities in one interpretation system is a promising approach for pipeline nondestructive condition assessment technology.”

When Dr. Jung isn’t working to become one of the best underground infrastructure researchers, he’s unwinding on the golf course. He particularly liked Mill Creek’s course.

“I searched the web and found that parks in Youngstown, including Mill Creek Park, are one of the best in northeast,” Dr. Jung said. “I learned golf two years ago, and I am still a beginner.”

Faculty Faction: Carol Lamb

Carol Lamb
Carol Lamb, associate professor of civil and construction engineering technology

Carol Lamb, associate professor of civil and construction engineering technology, teaches structural analysis and design, as well as construction and project management. She is also currently the faculty advisor for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the secretary for the Academic Senate.

Carol began her journey as an engineer at YSU in Civil Engineering Technology. After her bachelors, she earned her masters degree in Engineering Management. Carol is now pursuing her PhD in management with a focus in engineering.

Carol started working at YSU because of the encouragement of her professors, in the fall of 2005. Previously, she worked as an assistant bridge engineer with the Trumbull County Engineers’ Office.

Carol hopes to pass on encouragement and knowledge to her students just as her professors did for her. She enjoys having the class time to interact with her students. Continue reading “Faculty Faction: Carol Lamb”

YSU Engineering Students Win Award in Fracking Wastewater Treatment Competition

Part of the team involved in the competition.

Youngstown State University (YSU) Civil Engineering students placed third out of ten universities in an Environmental Design Competition held at the University of Pittsburgh on March 31. The contest was part of the annual American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Ohio Valley Student Conference. Other universities participating included the University of Kentucky, University of Pittsburgh, University of Akron, Cleveland State University, Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, and Ohio University.

The main goal of the competition was to remove barium and turbidity from wastewater generated by hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) of shale for natural gas wells. The YSU team added simple household chemicals – Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) – to precipitate barium sulfate and neutralize pH, then passed the water through a sand filter to remove turbidity. Their design removed 93% of barium and 98% of turbidity from the wastewater. Their treatment performance score tied them for first place in this category with the University of Kentucky.

Research on the treatment method was performed by Darshan Baral, a graduate student in Civil Engineering. In laboratory studies, Darshan was able to achieve 99.9% removal of barium. The treatment apparatus was prepared and operated by Tom Bowser and Sentel Rodgers, both seniors majoring in Civil Engineering. The students were advised by Drs. Scott Martin (Civil Engineering) and Felicia Armstrong (Environmental Studies).

YSU Engineering Students Win Concrete Canoe Competition

ASCE posing at the lake with their canoe.

Youngstown State University’s Concrete Canoe team dominated their regional competition at the University of Pittsburgh on March 30, placing first in four out of five races. The team also won first place awards for best design paper and best finished product, and placed first overall in the competition. They qualified to participate in the National Concrete Canoe Competition to be held June 15-16 at the University of Nevada, Reno. Nathan Knapp, a senior in civil engineering, is the concrete canoe team captain.

The competition was part of the annual American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Ohio Valley Student Conference, attended by civil engineering students from thirteen universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, Akron, Cleveland State, Carnegie Mellon, Ohio State, Ohio University, Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, Louisville, and Western Kentucky. The YSU students also placed second in the steel bridge building competition, earning an invitation to the National Student Steel Bridge Building Competition to be held May 24-26 at Clemson University in South Carolina. Dan Phillips, a civil engineering graduate student, is the steel bridge team captain.

In other conference events, the YSU Environmental Design team placed third out of ten teams in a contest requiring the removal of barium from hydraulic fracturing wastewater, and third place in the balsa wood bridge competition. Fourteen YSU engineering students attended the conference, along with faculty advisor, Dr. Scott Martin, and practitioner advisor, Adam DePizzo.

The team poses with their award plaques.

5th Annual Mahoning Valley Miniature Bridge Building Competition (MVMBBC)

Bridge Building Contest

During the National Engineers’ Week 2012, the 5th Annual MVMBBC was held on Friday, February 24, 2012, from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley Center at Youngstown State University. A total of 31 teams from 17 different high schools participated this year.

Teams arrived in the morning with their teacher/advisor and constructed their bridges on site, to meet the design specifications established by the competition. After allowing for lunch and glue drying time, bridges were inspected for adherence to design specifications and load-tested until failure. The winning bridge was chosen based on meeting the design criteria and the most efficient load carrying capacity to structure weight ratio. Winning 1st place was Lowellville High School, Team 1 with Carmen Donofiro, Randy Pavlicko and Bryan Schirald; Lowellville High School, Team 2 came in 2nd place with Dean Donatelli, Eric Inskeep and Michael Willliams. Both teams are coached by Travis Williams. This is the 3rd time in 5 years that Lowellville High School has won 1st place in the competition. Winning 3rd place was Niles-M1. The winning team achieved a load to weight ratio/structure efficiency of 1243.

The event involves design and construction of a balsa wood bridge followed by a load testing until failure. The goal of the MVMBBC is to promote civil engineering as a career choice to students, and to provide students with an educational opportunity to apply their knowledge to a real-world application. High school students in the Mahoning and Trumbull Counties are strongly encouraged to participate in this event since it will expose them to some basics of engineering design.

The competition has been organized and supported since 2008 by: Civil & Environmental Engineering at Youngstown State University; Mahoning County Engineer’s Office; Trumbull County Engineer’s Office; and ms consultants, inc.

CUTC Meeting and Outstanding Student Awards Dinner

Washington, D.C. was the destination of YSU’s Center for Transportation and Materials Engineering (CTME) Director, Joann Esenwein, and awards winner, Matthew Coppage, this past weekend, Jan. 21 – 22, 2012.

Matthew Coppage holds his award.

Matt, a senior in Civil Engineering, was selected for this award based on his ability to work with a team as well as individually, focusing on his leadership and problem solving skills. He has worked on various transportation-related research projects including the Center’s outreach programs and has assisted with various lab assignments. An active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)  student chapter, Matt participated in Contractor for a Day.

The Council of University Transportation Centers was established in 1979 by major transportation research centers and institutes in the United States and provides a forum for Universities and Centers to interact collectively with government and industry. Currently, there are over 130 academic institutions involved in membership representing the nation’s leading university-based transportation research and education programs whose members work to advance the state of the art in all modes and disciplines of transportation.

Dr. Hans Tritico accepted into FOEE Program

Dr. Hans Tritico, Assistant Professor for the Civil and Environmental Engineering department.

Dr. Hans Tritico, Assistant Professor for the Civil and Environmental Engineering department, was accepted into the Frontiers of Engineering Education program. The FOEE program is sponsored by the National Academy of Engineers. Approximately 50 engineering professors were selected to attend the symposium in Irvine, CA. Dr. Tritico will meet other leading engineering educators and brainstorm on ways to improve engineering education. They will then present their innovations to the engineering community.

Dr. Tritico said his ultimate goal for participating in the program is to help YSU students become the best engineers in the nation. He added that this is an opportunity to highlight the incredible teaching and learning that is going on at YSU. He is also looking forward to bringing back fresh ideas on curriculum and teaching methods to YSU and sharing those ideas with his colleagues.

Dr. Tritico teaching a class.

Dr. Tritico teaches water resources engineering at YSU. He also teaches fluid mechanics and hydraulic design as well as co-teaches the capstone design course. His graduate level courses include sediment transport, water policy and advanced hydrology. He has done research in sustainable hydraulics with emphasis on stream restoration and fish passage design. He holds a joint PhD from the University of Michigan in both Civil Engineering and Aquatic Ecology.

He added, “It’s an honor that YSU and I have been recognized by the National Academy of Engineers for our innovations in engineering education. Such an honor is a testament to the quality of our students and the dedication of our faculty,”

STEM College students Begin Work on Concrete Canoe

Students from the STEM College begin work on the annual concrete canoe competition hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Nathan Knapp, the team’s captain, said, “I want to expand my knowledge of the overall concrete canoe competition and pass my experiences to underclassmen. I hope to represent Youngstown State University at the national level.”

Nathan is a senior Civil Engineering student who has worked on the canoe project in the past. His team of eight other students includes Sammie Rovnak, Joe Reedy, Allison McMillen, Kim Klonowski, Mike Kaldy, Sentel Rodgers, Chris Jones, and Dan Phillips. They are working on the initial mix design first by using last year’s formula and improving it to be lighter and less dense. The team is performing a structural analysis to make sure the thickness of their hull design can withhold the pressure. The hull of the canoe can be no more than 22 feet long and 36 inches wide so the students are working to make sure the mix can withstand those dimensions and remain light for optimal racing agility.

The next step is to finish the mold. The cross sections for the mold are cut, and the team will pour the concrete on “place day” in December. Then, it will be sanded down, and a drywall compound will be applied to compliment the finish. Graphics and aesthetics will then be applied, and the students hope to have enough time to practice with it in the water.

The regional competition will take place on March 29-31, 2012 at the University of Pittsburgh where they will compete against other universities across the country and Canada. Schools that have competed in the past include Akron University, Western Kentucky, Ohio State University and Ohio University. The team must prepare a design paper and will also be judged on an oral presentation and the aesthetics of the canoe. Then, they will race it. Last year’s team placed second, and if they win this year, they will advance to nationals held in Nevada. For more information on the competition, visit www.asce.org.

Dr. Scott Martin of Mechanical Engineering is the faculty advisor on the project. He said, “Working on projects like the concrete canoe provides a real opportunity for engineering students to enhance their professional skills. They improve their understanding of the things they learned in their Civil Engineering courses, and also develop communication, teamwork, project management, and time management skills. On top of all that, they have a lot of fun, and gain confidence that they can compete with engineering students from anywhere.”

Publication: Developing a Multi-Faceted Survey of Engineering Course for Junior and Senior Level High School Students

Robert J. Korenic, Assistant Professor, Civil and Construction Engineering Technology, presented his research paper titled Developing a Multi-Faceted Survey of Engineering Course for Junior and Senior Level High School Students at the 2010-2011 American Society of Engineering Educators North Central/ Illinois-Indiana conference which was held at Central Michigan University on April 1 through April 2, 2011.