Two teams from the Ingram School of Engineering competed in the SAMPE 2013 Student Light-weight Composite Bridge Building Competition held in Long Beach, California. Matt Andrews and Sergio Espinoza from Dr. Tate’s Composites lab and student Brett Smith, who has previously taken Dr. Tate’s MFGE 4367, represented Texas State at the SAMPE Conference. Both teams competed in the Carbon I-Beam category that consisted of fifteen other teams from universities throughout the globe including the U.S., Canada, and China.
The competition challenges students to build a light-weight bridge using only composite materials. The bridges are tested to failure and judged on a given criteria. This year the students were to design a bridge that could hold up to 10,000lbs while being as light as possible. The students had to optimize bridge dimensions to ensure the best mechanical properties while minimizing the weight of the bridge.Both teams did extremely well with Brett Smith taking 1st place for his I-beam that held a load of over 10,000lbs and weighed less than two and a half pounds. Andrews’ and Espinosa’s beam held a load of over 8300lbs.