Overview: The Steel Bridge Experience


We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.
— Lee Iacocca, John W. Gardner


Sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), as well as the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), The LU Steel Bridge Team is a student run organization that applies real-world engineering in order to create a 1:10 model steel bridge.

This team’s main goal is to take a student’s engineering capabilities, such as academia, intellect, and diligence, and refine them in order to create an experience that is competitive, goal-oriented, and most importantly, fun.

The LU Steel Bridge Team’s alternate ambition is to take home the National Student Steel Bridge Championship (NSSBC), which is held at a different college or university every year. In order to compete at the national level we must place in the top 3 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional ASCE conference.



2012-2013 Welding in ATLSS Laboratory

Comprised of two main phases, The LU Steel Bridge Team works throughout the entire academic year designing (first phase) and constructing (second phase) a scaled model of a steel bridge. Students are encouraged to participate in both phases so that they may receive both technical and design experience. Computer programming, designing, engineering computation, as well as construction accounting are a few of the areas ventured upon during the design phase. Fabrication, grinding, welding, plasma cutting, and drilling are some of the skills used during the construction phase.

STAAD.Pro logo

STAAD.Pro and SAP2000 are Finite Element Analysis (FEM) programs which we use to analyze stress, strain, bending moments, and nodal displacements of the bridge. After such analysis is complete, a 3D model of the bridge is then recreated and dimensioned on CAD software such as SolidWorks for a more realistic and interpretable visual. The SolidWorks drawings are then brought to ATLSS Laboratory for fabrication.



A 40 page student handbook is issued at the beginning of each academic year. This handbook contains specified categories as well as all of the rules in which every bridge must follow. Every competing school must abide by and efficiently maximize the NSSBC specified categories in order to win.

Such categories include construction economy which is derived from construction speed, lightness, aggregate deflection, and horizontal sway. Aesthetics and a poster presentation act as tiebreakers.

The complete set of official rules can be found by clicking 'here'.

Explanations of the rules as well as official clarifications can be found by clicking 'here'.

2016-2017Onsite Fabrication Specifications

2014-2015 Dimensional Specifications