Building bridges

Student engineers give presentation to young scientists

Brian Brenner, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and his students gave a presentation at the annual Ralph Salvucci Online Bridge Design Contest, sponsored by the Boston Society of Civil Engineers (BSCES) on June 1.

At this annual event, prizes are awarded to Massachusetts grade school students who participate in the contest, in which they use the West Point Bridge Designer program to design a low-cost truss bridge.

Brenner, Julia Carroll, E08, and Carlo Jacob, E07, gave a live demonstration from the Tufts Buildable Bridge project

After a brief presentation about civil engineering and structures, students from the audience were invited to help construct a suspension bridge model and a cable-stayed Zakim Bridge model. As the models were assembled, the students (and their parents) were challenged with a discussion of bridge construction issues—why, for example, are the cables on the actual Zakim Bridge placed in the center of the deck on the back spans, but on the outside of the deck on the main span?

The presentation concluded with a demonstration of the project’s newest model—a post-tensioned box beam bridge model designed by Ishmael D. Alleyne, Jason Karp, Mark Pinkos and Kevin Walsh, all E06.