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UTA CE Students Participate in Seismic Design Competition

CE Students Participate in Seismic Design CompetitionA team of eight Civil Engineering students (Leonardo Pena-team captain, Eduardo Reyes, Omar Pena, Steven Kemp, Matthew Flanagan, Elena Soto, David Phan, Pooja Patel) from UTA participated in the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute's (EERI) 2013 Seismic Design Competition that was held February 13-15 in Seattle, WA. The competition required the students to get involved with the analysis, design, construction, and testing of a 5-ft, 20-story balsa wood structure. Their tasks included the selection of the best architectural design, the use of a structural analysis software to analyze and design the structure, the selection of the optimal structural design, and finally the construction of the structure that was shipped to Seattle and tested on shake table as part of the competition.

The initial step for the competition was to submit a preliminary design to the organizing committee. This design was evaluated and qualified the UTA team to compete at the national level. Once the team qualified for the finals, the team met with students majoring in architecture to discuss the architectural aspects of the structure. These meetings proved to be beneficial as the UTA team placed in the top 5 of the competition in architecture. After the architectural design was selected, the structural design was finalized. This was accomplished through the consideration of different bracing-shear wall combinations. The combinations were discussed with Dr. Andreas Stavridis, the faculty advisor of the UTA chapter and were assessed structurally with computational models created in SAP2000, an analysis program used by engineering firms across the world. After the desired bracing-shear wall combination was selected, the construction of the building commenced.

The competition was held concurrently with the EERI's 2013 Annual Meeting in Seattle. Five undergraduate students from UTA traveled to Seattle and had the honor to represent not only The University of Texas at Arlington, but the entire state of Texas at the competition. The participation to the Annual Meeting and the competition was a great experience for our students. The conference itself offered workshops that allowed students to participate and learn about earthquakes at a level exceeding what is taught in the undergraduate curriculum in Texas due to the lack of seismic activity. Furthermore, this conference and competition presented the opportunity for networking with professional engineers and researchers. For any engineering undergraduate student, networking with such a group of talented and experienced engineers is a very valuable experience and the UTA students benefitted significantly through the interaction in Seattle.

For more information about the competition, please visit the website: