ODU Hosts Student Chapters' Conference '09

surveying-teamVMI cadets, faculty and chaperones travelled to the ASCE Student Chapters’ Conference at Old Dominion (ODU) in Norfolk, Va., April 16-18, 2009.  Thursday evening was the ice breaker get together and registration for all participants.  

Friday morning the Chapters were introduced and the surveying and Hardy Cross and other technical problem solving competitions took place.  The Steel Bridge Competition began mid day and continued into the afternoon.  The Environmental competitions took place in the afternoon and the day concluded with a business meeting and banquet following. 

More events were held on Saturday, including the infamous concrete canoe competition.  The conference concluded with presentations and awards.   

Cadet reports of the events follow below. 

Steel Bridge Competition
by Jake Riggs ’09

steel-bridgeThe steel bridge has returned to VMI. Jake Riggs led the team this year with the help of Sean Peterson and Jonathon Kim. This was the first time in many years VMI had a bridge in the competition. To say the least it was no $5000 Virginia Tech bridge, but they had the best time at the competition. 

In typical Keydet fashion, the team built the bridge 15 seconds under the maximum time limit. After the load test, the team didn’t take bridge apart. They carried the bridge straight to VA Beach. 

At the beach, the real load test started. All the member of the VMI ASCE team stood on the bridge and loaded it to failure. At this point the bridge failed. Carrying back the broken bridge through all the other teams was the best experience of the whole competition. 

The other teams thought we were crazy but wanted to do the same to their bridge. Of course they couldn’t because their advisors (the graduate student designers) wanted to keep the bridge. We had three people design and build the bridge this year with a cost of under $500 and we had more fun than the 20 person teams that spent thousands of dollars on their bridge. 


Concrete Canoe
by Trent Blackman, Alex Kari, Keith Taylor, Riley Wirth, and John Collier

concrete-canoeAs members of the Concrete Canoe Team we did several things. We had to build the formwork in order to cast the 20’ concrete boat, come up with a concrete mix suitable to be strong enough, but still light enough to float. These were the two biggest components of construction, but it is a long tedious project. We learned a little bit about carpentry, concrete mix designing, concrete pouring, concrete reinforcement, as well as the detrimental effects of the pot holes on I-64. All in all it was a fun trip and we learned a lot about different engineering aspects. 

Cadet Mark Miller ’09 participated in the Hardy Cross competition and took third place for his work entitled“Chemical and Biological Treatment of Reduced Sulfur Compounds: Bench-Scale Treatability Testing of Viscose Leachate.” TrentBlackman, Daniel Hingley, Alex Kari, and Chuck Lincoln represented VMI in the technical problems competition.  The Environmental competition representatives were Mark Miller, Daniel Hingley and Paul Wirth.