Steel Bridge Update

Over the break, a lot of progress was made on the bridge design. It is pretty much finalized by now with only a few things left. These last two things are very important however. We are currently undecided about how to handle the bridge chords, they are the horizontal pieces the weight will be applied to. Originally our main designer Jamie had a somewhat complicated truss design for the chords. But while playing with her computer model she replaced them with a simple rectangular tube and noticed a strange occurrence. Apparently when she changed the chords to simple hollow tubes the bridge deformed only slightly more but reduced the overall weight of the bridge drastically. She will do some more tests but hopefully this was no fluke. Using hollow tubes makes modeling the bridge on Solidworks easier, it makes fabrication easier, and it’ll make assembly during the competition faster and easier as well. The other bit of unfinished business is also extremely important, the connections. Connections are arguably the most important part of the bridge design. Not only do they need to be strong and hold the bridge together under large amounts of stress, but they also need to be easily accessible making assembly easy. Last year Lafayette had a very simple but effective connection design that allowed them to rotate their connections into place which facilitated their assembly and helped them achieve the fastest build time at the competition last year. We are currently abiding by the K.I.S. rule (keep it simple) and will hopefully decide on the design soon. By the end of the week hopefully we will be done with design and can focus solely on Solidworks modeling. More updates to come.

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One thought on “Steel Bridge Update

  1. Using the HSS hollow tube section sounds like a cool idea. Since the elements of the tube are spread out further away from its centroid, it means its y bar will be greater, thus making its moment of inertia greater. It’ll do okay in the torsional loading test (if there is one).
    Keep us posted on how it goes.

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