New Mexico Student Chapter of American Society of Civil Engineers

March 20, 2014

ASCE VolunteersThis year, the University of New Mexico Student ASCE Chapter has hosted and participated in several events on campus. Every other month, guest speakers are invited to speak about current projects they are working on, advice for the professional work place, and why they chose engineering. So far, they have invited several guests ranging from professors to corrugated steel professionals to traffic engineers.

ASCE Secretary

In addition to general meetings, UNM ASCE has also participated in several outreach events. One was the High School STEM Night hosted by Society of Women Engineers. ASCE collaborated with SWE and other student organizations to put together various hands-on activities to teach students basic engineering concepts. The ASCE table demonstrated buoyancy and structural design. Another event that ASCE volunteered at was the Chi Epsilon Spring Social. At this event, young engineering students were given the opportunity to talk with professors, graduate students, and student organizations. All of these events and meetings are targeted at helping students succeed in whatever future path they may take.

Conference Details:

During the first week of April, 17 members of the UNM ASCE chapter attended the 2014 Rocky Mountain Regional ASCE Conference in Fort Collins, Colorado. Students participated in a series of events and competitions such as the steel bridge, concrete canoe, non-technical paper, mystery design, business meetings, etc. The majority of their focus was divided between the steel bridge and the concrete canoe. Starting from August 2013 until just days before the competition, UNM students invested long hours and sleepless nights into brainstorming, preliminary design, calculations, and fabrication for their respective event. The steel bridge team designed a girder truss bridge named The Black Widow. bridgeTheir design utilized A36 steel plates, C-channels, and rods to create simple yet effective girders. The bridge had a total weight of approximately 210 pounds and a conservative build time of 19 minutes. Unfortunately, due to an overlooked and ill-supported connection, the bridge buckled at mid-span after supporting 2200 pounds out of the total 2400 pounds during the vertical load test.

The concrete canoe team designed a 20’ long, 300 lb canoe named The Sandia. The team developed a lightweight, structurally sound, and sustainable mix containing cement, fly ash, cenospheres, glass beads, and pumice. This watermelon themed canoe carried their team through an entire day of racing, until the bottom of the canoe finally gave way after the last race.

the sandia canoeAlthough neither The Sandia nor The Black Widow were eligible to place in the top three at regionals, both teams still learned a lot and are exceptionally proud of their hard work. The University of New Mexico will be hosting the upcoming 2015 regional conference. They have begun planning and are excited for what next year will bring! (For overall conference standings and awards, please visit Colorado State University’s conference website.)