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44th Annual Balsawood Bridge Competition Set for Saturday, February 15

Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The University of Evansville student section of the American Society of Civil Engineers will conduct the 44th annual balsawood bridge competition on Saturday, February 15. Approximately 200 kindergarten through high school aged children will participate in the event which will take place in Eykamp Hall in Ridgway University Center on UE’s campus from 9:30 a.m. to noon. The top junior winner will be awarded a scholarship to study engineering at UE.

UE Associate Professor of Mechanical and Civil Engineering Mark Valenzuela, co-advisor for the competition, says the event was created to be a “fun activity that gets kids excited about engineering, math and science.”

He explains that preparations for the event began a few months ago when participants were given balsawood kits to build their bridges.

The completed bridges will be brought to UE for the competition where, says Valenzuela, “our civil engineering students will inspect them for compliance with the rules and test their strength by seeing how much lead shot each bridge can carry in a bucket. The bridge that holds the most shot but uses the least amount of balsawood wins in different age groups.”

UE civil engineering student Christina Bernauer is the competition’s project manager. Valenzuela notes that Christina was herself a contestant in one of the annual balsawood competitions when she was in grade school.

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