Written by Shirley Yan CE’23

The Cooper Union Steel Bridge Team is a student-run organization that designs, fabricates, and assembles a 22-foot steel bridge for competition every year in the The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). The final bridge is capable of withstanding loads of 3000 pounds. The CU team has qualified for the national AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition each of the last several years. The Steel Bridge Team is the only student organization at Cooper Union that does not receive funding from the school. As a result, the team raises funds from donations from engineering firms and Cooper Union alumni to purchase materials needed for the bridge.

2019 CU Steel Bridge Team at National Competition

Like many things in the past year, the 2020 Steel Bridge competition was canceled. For 2021, AISC has devised a new format to allow for an entirely virtual competition. (To see Competition Rules Click here). Teams will prepare a 3D model of their bridge and conduct simulated loading with a structural analysis software. The final product will consist of the 3D bridge model, a report of 10-15 pages detailing the process and rationale behind the design, and a video promoting our bridge design.

Quarantine has posed a unique set of challenges for the Steel Bridge Team. The team is unable to hold in-person meetings, which made the logistics of the design, fabrication, and building of the bridge difficult. We are working diligently on creating a virtual bridge, focusing more on design and analysis rather than construction this year. We’re thankful for all the support from the school and our alumni, and we hope to learn something from this year’s altered competition format!”

Contact info:

Our website: https://cooperunionsteelbridge.wordpress.com/

And our Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cooper_steelbridge/