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Student Steel Bridge Competition

2021 Official Student Steel Bridge Competition Rules

Download the Official Rules for the 2021 Student Steel Bridge Competition: Compete from Campus

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Release date: August 20, 2020

2021 Official Student Steel Bridge Competition Clarifications

Clarifications are based on the Student Steel Bridge Competition 2021 Official Rules. All clarifications have been reviewed and approved by the Rules Committee.

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Click on each section below to read the posted clarifications.

SSBC Clarifications

1. Mission and Summary

There are no clarifications for Section 1 at this time.

2. Introduction

There are no clarifications for Section 2 at this time.

3. Problem Statement

There are no clarifications for Section 3 at this time.

4. Eligibility

Q4.1. What is meant by "all or part of the fall through spring of the current competition academic year" as stated in Rule 4.3.3? Emily Rone, Louisiana State University (2020)

A.  A student is eligible to participate on a team if they are enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at the competing school during some point in time between the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021. [4.3.3, 4.4.3]


Q4.2. How many students can be on a school’s student steel bridge team? Molly J Cooke, University of St. Thomas

A. There is no limit to the number of students that participate on a school's student steel bridge team provided that the students are undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at the school during all or part of the fall through spring of the current competition academic year. However, no more than six members of the team can serve as builders for construction and no more than four members can participate in load testing at any one time. [4.3.3, 4.4.3, 11.2.2.1, 11.2.3.1]

5. Safety

There are no clarifications for Section 5 at this time.

6. Scoring

Q6.1. Is it permitted to laser engrave the name of the school onto the bridge? Jose Chalapa, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (2020)

A.  Yes, provided that the lettering is easily legible (at least 1" high is recommended) and clearly visible. [6.2.1.1.3]


Q6.2 (Previously Posted). Will exact deflections be measured during the vertical load test and considered in the scoring calculations for the Compete from Campus National Finals given that the vertical load test has become pass/fail for the Compete from Campus Regional Events? Kushal Ankola, Kennesaw State University

A (updated 1/13/2021). Teams that are eligible for the National Finals after participating in the Compete from Campus Regional Events will be expected to provide a completely new Compete from Campus submission associated with the National Finals competition. In other words, eligible teams will be required to go through the Compete from Campus process again in order to be eligible for ranking as part of the National Finals. The Compete from Campus National Finals will follow the same guidelines as the Compete from Campus Regional Events with the exception that a new die roll will be chosen in order to determine whether a team's bridge passes or fails the vertical load test. All teams participating in the Compete from Campus National Finals will be competing against each other. The decision not to measure vertical deflections was made to ensure safety and consistency across all competing teams and with an eye toward consistency with the Regional Events and inclusivity for those teams that may not have the experience or resources to measure deflections accurately. [6.2.6, 11.5]


Q6.3 Is the name of the school used to identify the bridge required to be the full formal name of the school or can a typical abbreviated version of the school name be used? Davis Su, University of British Columbia

A. An abbreviated version of the school name can be used provided that the school can be easily identified from the abbreviated version. Abbreviations that are typical of multiple schools are not permitted. A bridge that cannot be easily identified will receive a poor aesthetics rating. The name on the bridge should match exactly the name on the poster. [6.2.1.1.3, 6.2.1.2.1] 

7. Schedule of Competition

There are no clarifications for Section 7 at this time.

8. Material and Component Specifications

Q8.1. May a spring loaded connection be incorporated into a bridge’s design? Malcolm Bryson, The College of New Jersey (2020)

A. No. A spring loaded connection would violate the requirements in specification 8.2.2.1 that a "member shall not have moving or flexible parts". A spring is inherently flexible and the components of a connection are part of a member. [8.2.2.1]


Q8.2. Does more than one member need to fit in the box at the same time when checking for member size violations? Cody L., University of Louisville (2020)

A. No. Each member is checked for size violations in the box separately. [8.2, 8.2.2.2]


Q8.3. Is the head of a bolt required to be hexagonal over its full length? Samir S., University of Alabama (2020)

A. No. A bolt is only required to have a head, but no restrictions are placed on the shape of the head or whether the shape is constant over the full length of the head. However, modifications to a bolt, including its head, are penalized. [8.2.3]


Q8.4. May steel wire be used as part of the bridge? Neil Isales, Colorado School of Mines & Sam Dodd, Clemson University (2020)

A. No. Members that make up the constructed portion of the bridge shall not have moving or flexible parts. [8.1, 8.2.2.1]


Q8.5. May a hole in a member include a series of projecting, helical ridges which are non-continuous, and therefore not technically defined as threads? Christopher Lento, University at Buffalo (2020)

A.  Although non-continuous, projecting, helical, ridges are technically not defined as threads by ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), their use in a hole of a member intended to receive a loose bolt or externally threaded part of another member is considered an attempt to circumvent the intent of the rules and will lead to disqualification of the bridge. [3, 8.2.5]


Q8.6. May a 3D printer be used to fabricate parts of the bridge? John Mader, Catholic University of America (2020)

A.  Yes, there are no restrictions in regards to the methods used to fabricate parts of the bridge beyond following safe practices. However, the 3D printed part must be strongly magnetic steel and not incorporate parts that are not strongly magnetic steel. [5, 8.1]


Q8.7. May a hole be threaded if a threaded component is inserted into that hole and welded in place so that the threaded component is no longer removable? Kyle Berry, University of Illinois at Chicago (2020)

A.  Yes, provided that the threaded component inserted into the threaded hole during fabrication of the member cannot be removed and becomes a permanent part of that member through welding. Rule 8.2.5 only prohibits threaded holes in members for loose bolts or externally threaded parts of a different member. The only means to have a threaded hole that can accept a loose bolt or externally threaded part of a different member during construction is by welding a nut to the member. [8.2.2.1, 8.2.4, 8.2.5]


Q8.8. Are shoulder bolts allowed? Nick Mendoza, University of California, San Diego (2020)

A.  Yes, but the shoulder bolt may not have parts that flex or move, must be commercially available and not be mechanically altered or modified in any way. Due to the length of the shoulder associated with a shoulder bolt, care must be taken when a shoulder bolt is installed in a connection and tightened to ensure that the nut and bolt head are both in contact with the outer ply of the connection or the connection will be in violation of Rule 9.4.4. [8.2.3.1, 8.2.3.2, 9.4.4]


Q8.9. May a turnbuckle be used as part of the bridge? Ryan Boyd, Oregon State University (2020)

A.  No. The bridge shall consist of only nuts, loose bolts and members. A turnbuckle is either a member by itself or if welded to a member then it is part of that member. Since a turnbuckle has threaded holes, it violates the rule that holes in members or in parts of a member shall not be threaded. There would be a penalty if a turnbuckle is used as a nut unless it is threaded over its full length and has the external shape of a single hexagonal prism over its full length. [8.2.1, 8.2.2.1, 8.2.4, 8.2.5]


Q8.10. May a shear pin be used? Nicholas Perovich, United States Military Academy (2020)

A.  The bridge shall consist only of nuts, bolts and members. A shear pin welded to a member is considered to be part of that member. If the shear pin is threaded, then it is also considered an externally threaded part of the member. Any shear pin that is not welded to a member is considered to be a separate member governed by all specifications and regulations pertaining to members. [8.2.1, 8.2.2.1, 9.4, 10.3.11]


Q8.11. Does the entire member need to fit into the right rectangular prism (i.e., box) or just part of the member? William Kainer, Saint Louis University (2020)

A.  The entire member must be able to fit into the box in order to ensure that it meets the 3'6' x 6" x 4" dimension requirements. Additional force beyond gravity should not be required in order to fit the member into the box. [8.2, 8.2.2.1, 8.2.2.2, 10.6.2]


Q8.12. Are components that are welded to a member considered part of that member and thus also considered in meeting the dimensional requirements for the member? William Kainer, Saint Louis University (2020)

A.  Yes. Any component that is welded to a member becomes a part of that member no matter what that component's function is. As a result, the welded component is considered in checking the dimensional requirements of that member. [8.2, 8.2.2.1, 8.2.2.2, 10.6.2]


Q8.13 Is a slender rod that deflects under its self-weight when not connected to the bridge considered to be a flexible part? Andrew Assadollahi, Christian Brothers University

A. No, a rod is not considered a flexible part, even if it is slender. A wire is considered to be a flexible part as discussed in clarification Q8.4. The difference between a wire and a rod is that a wire can be coiled without breaking and has no mechanical strength in compression whereas a rod is generally straight and has some compressive capacity. [8.1, 8.2.2.1] 

9. Structural Specifications

Q9.1. May the width of the stringer vary along its length? Michael Tortora, Wentworth Institute of Technology (2020)

A.  Yes. There is no restriction on the width of the stringer, but the stringer shall be contiguous and not interfere with the passage of the clearance template during inspection of the bridge after construction in completed. [Glossary, 9.2.1, 9.3.8]


Q9.2. May more than two members be connected with a single bolt to satisfy the requirement that each member shall be connected to each member that it touches by at least one loose bolt or externally threaded part of a member? Jedidiah Elam, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (2020)

A.  Yes. [8.2.2.1, 8.2.2.2, 9.4.1, 9.4.2, 9.4.3, 9.4.4, 9.5]


Q9.3. Does the 7.5" vertical clearance over the ground and river specified in Rule 9.3.4 need to be maintained during vertical load testing? Gabriel Earle, George Mason University (2020)

A.  No. Requirements in sub-section 9.3, including Rule 9.3.4, are only checked with the bridge in its as-built condition after termination of timed construction and before the bridge is moved from the construction site or load tested. [7.1, 7.2, 9.1, 9.3, 9.3.4]


Q9.4. May parts of members that have other functions also function as sections of stringers and thereby count toward the stringer's overall length? Malcolm Bryson, The College of New Jersey (2020)

A.  Yes, but the stringer, including any section that is part of a member that has another function, shall be contiguous and not interfere with passage of the clearance template. [8.2.2.2, 9.2.1, 9.3.5, 9.3.6, 9.3.7, 9.3.8, 9.3.8.1, 9.3.8.2, 9.3.9]


Q9.5. What is the meaning of the term "contiguous" with respect to the requirement in Rule 9.2.1 that each stringer shall be contiguous? Luis Rodriguez, University of Arizona (2020)

A.  Contiguous refers to the fact that the parts of the bridge making up the stringer need to be in contact with each other in such a way that the stringer extends from the footing on one end of the bridge to the footing on the other end of the bridge without a break or gap, except for that allowed in Rule 9.3.9. This requirement does not imply that the stringer be a constant shape, thickness or width over its length. However, the stringer shall not interfere with the passage of the clearance template during inspection of the bridge after construction is completed. [9.2.1, 9.3.8, 9.3.9]


Q9.6. May the sides of the stringers have holes or open voids? Luis Rodriguez, University of Arizona (2020)

A.  Yes. Only the top of the stringers shall not have holes or open voids, but open holes in other locations are not violations. [9.3.9]


Q9.7. May there be a gap between connected members along the length of the loose bolt that is used to form the connection? Charmelis Reyes, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (2020)

A.  Yes. There is no requirement that all plies of the connection are touching provided that the loose bolt is less than 3" in length. However, each individual loose or welded nut shall fully engage the threads of the matching bolt such that the threads are flush or extend beyond the outer face of the nut. Also, each individual loose nut and loose bolt shall be tightened sufficiently so that the nut and bolt head contact the outer ply of the connection. The gap must not allow the bridge to distort from its as-built condition when the decking is positioned for lateral and vertical load testing. [8.2.3.2, 9.2.4, 9.4.1, 9.4.2, 9.4.4, 9.4.5]

10. Construction Regulations

Q10.1. Are there restrictions on the shape of the member that is in contact with the ground in the footing? Luis Rodriguez, University of Arizona (2020)

A.  No. The only restriction on the member in contact with the footing is that the portion of that member which is in contact with the footing must remain within the boundary that defines the footing (unless the Exception in Rule 10.4.2 is invoked) and the member itself must fit within the box prior to timed construction. However, any portion of the member or other connected member that extends outside the vertical boundary defining the footing must provide 7.5" of clearance above the ground. [8.2.2.2, 9.3.4, 10.4.2]


Q10.2. May a temporary pier be used outside the staging yard to assist in the construction of the bridge? Almuhannad Alhazmi, Temple University (2020)

A.  No. A temporary pier is considered a tool and tools are not allowed to touch the river, the ground outside the staging yard or the floor outside the site boundary without penalty. Construction will be stopped if a tool is deliberately placed in contact with the river or ground outside the staging yard. [Glossary, 3, 10.4, 10.4.2]


Q10.3 Are members allowed to be placed in the left staging yard as designated on the site plan? Ryan Ocampo, Florida International University

A. At the start of construction, members can only be located in their designated area in the right staging yard. Once construction begins, there is no restriction as to the location within either staging yard where a member is located. [10.4.2, 10.4.3, 10.6.1]


Q10.4 May a builder simultaneously be in contact with a single member that maintains contact with the ground within a footing and the next piece that is to be connected to that member? Ben VanderHart, University of Alaska Fairbanks

A. By the definition given in the glossary, a constructed portion consists of "two or more members in contact with one another" and builders are prohibited from supporting or touching more than one member that is not part of a constructed portion. Therefore, a builder cannot simultaneously touch or support a single member placed in a footing while touching or supporting another member until the two members come in contact with each other. Once the two members are in contact with each other, and one of those members remains in contact with the ground inside the footing, they are considered part of a constructed portion. Therefore, a builder may touch or support both members provided that they remain in contact with each other and one of the members remains in contact with the ground inside the footing. [Glossary, 10.1.6, 10.3.7, 10.3.10]

11. Load Test Instructions

There are no clarifications for Section 11 at this time.

12. Equipment Provided by Host

Q12.1. Are there specific tolerances for the box and measurement templates? Joey Batcher, Milwaukee School of Engineering (2020)

A.  No, the box and measurement templates are fabricated as precisely as possible and have been provided to the Regional Event hosts by AISC in order to help minimize variability between regions. However, for a variety of reasons, the measurement devices may not be exact. The rules state that all teams are required to accept/accommodate local conditions and equipment, so teams should take this requirement into account when deciding how close to the limits they design and fabricate their bridge. [Glossary, 12.1].

13. Interpretation of Rules

Q13.1. Do clarifications from the 2020 SSBC Competition hold true for this year’s competition (2021 SSBC Competition)? Zach Carlson, University at Buffalo

A. Given the unique circumstance surrounding last year’s SSBC and this year’s SSBC, relevant clarifications from last year (2020) will apply to this year’s competition (2021). Those clarifications deemed to be still relevant have already been posted at aisc.org/ssbc and can be distinguished by the “(2020)” at the end of the question. Any new clarifications for the 2021 SSBC will be added to this same list. Please note that under typical circumstances, clarifications will not carry over from one year to the next. [13]

14. Judging

There are no clarifications for Section 14 at this time.

15. Appeals

There are no clarifications for Section 15 at this time.

APPENDIX

  • Site Plan Diagram
  • Bridge Elevation Diagram
  • Bridge Plan Diagram
  • Lateral Load Test Plan Diagram
  • Vertical Load Test Plan and Elevation Diagram

Supplemental Competition

A new design-only team contest has been developed for 2021 that allows for 100% virtual participation from start to finish. This Supplemental Competition provides a broader breadth of opportunities for teams to experience the SSBC in light of potential restrictions imposed by the ongoing pandemic.

2021 Official Supplemental Competition Rules

Download the Official Rules for the 2021 Supplemental Competition.

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Release date: August 20, 2020

2021 Official Supplemental Competition Clarifications

Clarifications are based on the Student Steel Bridge Competition 2021 Official Rules. All clarifications have been reviewed and approved by the Rules Committee.

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Click on each section below to read the posted clarifications.

1. Overview

There are no clarifications for Section 1 at this time.

2. Introduction

There are no clarifications for Section 2 at this time.

3. Problem Statement

There are no clarifications for Section 3 at this time.

4. Eligibility

There are no clarifications for Section 4 at this time.

5. Ranking

QS5.1. Will guest teams competing in the supplemental competition be evaluated, ranked and given feedback? Davis Su, University of British Columbia

A. Yes, guest teams will be evaluated, ranked for each sub-category and given feedback in the same manner as teams that are eligible for the Supplemental Competition National Finals. However, guest teams will not receive points associated with their sub-category rankings or be considered for the category and overall Supplemental Competition Awards. [S4.2.4, S5.1, S5.2]

6. Design Portion

QS6.1. What is meant by "design features" (Section 6.2.3.d) in regards to providing the required information about the selection of design features for individual members and does this information need to be provided for every member? Andrew Agresto, College of New Jersey

A. "Design features" refers to any aspect of a member associated with its design including, but not limited to, dimensioning, configuration, materials used and purpose. It is up to individual teams to decide how many and which members to choose to discuss the selection of their design features and in what way to present this information. It should be kept in mind that several members can often be grouped into the same category. The intent of this deliverable is for teams to provide some information in regards to why their bridge members are designed in a particular way. [S6.2, S6.3]

7. Analysis Portion

QS7.1. For the model verification requirement in Section 7.3.2.4, what is meant by a "member" and how detailed do the hand calculations for the internal load effects and local stability calculations need to be? Macky Hamilton, California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo

A. "Member" is defined as a rigid component of the bridge that must fit inside a right rectangular prism of dimensions of 3'-6" x 6" x 4". The detail of the hand calculations for the model verification is left up to each team, but the intent is to have teams rationally justify the findings of their numerical analyses. For example, verifying output might include calculations for members governed by different load effects such as one tension member and one compression member. As such, justified assumptions (or simplifications) can be made in creating the free body diagram used for the member analysis and in determining the loading and boundary conditions. It is not expected that the hand calculations will provide the same detail as the numerical analysis. [S7.3.2.4]


QS7.2. What is meant by internal load effects in regards to the model verification requirement stated in Section 7.3.2.4? Kayla Erler, University of California, San Diego

A. Internal load effects can include axial load, shear forces and bending moments generated by external loads placed on a member. These internal load effects are exposed when a cut is made through a member and are shown as the exposed internal forces when a free body diagram of the cut member is created. [S7.3.2.4]


QS7.3. What is required for the free-body diagram that is used to verify the analysis model as part of the Model Verification sub-category [Section S7.3.2.4(1)]? Inez Warshaw, New York University

A. The required free-body diagram is a single simplified beam model of one side of the bridge that shows the transfer of force from the loading point to the ground through the piers. [S7.3.2.4]

8. Construction Sequencing Portion

There are no clarifications for Section 8 at this time.

9. Video

There are no clarifications for Section 9 at this time.

10. Submission

QS10.1. May an oversized page size be used for drawings provided in the appendices? Davis Su, University of British Columbia

A. An oversized page size can be used only for material in the appendices (drawings, charts, etc.) provided that the use of an oversized page size does not affect the readability of the PDF document. It is recommended that only an oversized page size of 11" x 17" be used as this size is equivalent to two 8.5" x 11" pages. [S10.1]


QS10.2. For a team that has a large number of students that contributed to the project, should all contributing students be listed on the cover page of the Supplemental Competition Report? Cindy Khailor, University of British Columbia

A. Yes, all contributing students should be listed on the cover page. Multiple columns can be used to list the names of contributing students if necessary. [S10.1]

11. Interpretation of the Rules

There are no clarifications for Section 11 at this time.

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