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Their bridge has conquered the world

In the photo, students from the Bridge Engineers’ Student Research Group

Bridge Engineers’ Student Research Group operates at the Faculty of Civil Engineering

The team from the Bridge Engineers’ Student Research Group (operating at the Faculty of Civil Engineering) took the second place in an international steel bridge competition Design and Construct Steel Bridge Competition (DE&CO) 2024, which was held in Turkey on 6–10 May.

This is an award for the bridge Kartal 1. The evaluation covered the deflection cost in load conditions and assembly time. Other factors were the weight of the bridge, its appearance and whether the team also comprised second-cycle students. In addition to the second place in the general evaluation, our students also got an award for the lightest bridge.

The creators of the bridge were Piotr Ambrochowicz, Mateusz Rajda, Alicja Wolf, Daniel Stefanowicz and Oleg Lagonda. 

The general concept of the awarded bridge was based on the construction from last year, i.e., a double trussed arch. The students saw its great potential for optimisation in terms of mass and structural simplicity, which was the main goal in the design of the new bridge.

– Using a parametric model created with Rhino Grasshopper and a computational programme GSA we ran a thorough optimisation, testing various arches and truss systems – says Mateusz Rajda. – As a result, we gave up on the double arch and chose a single one of variable arching, made of a rectangular hollow section, we adopted Nilsen system anchors and N trusses on the bridge deck.

– As a result, we managed to reduce the mass of the bridge by 53kg (from 121 to 68) with the calculated vertical deflection of 2.4mm for the competition load, and the whole structure became much simpler to make – adds Mateusz Rajda. 

The students decided to make their bridge blue.

– It represents the sky on which majestically soars a white eagle, our national symbol, and also it blends into the landscape well – explains Mateusz Rajda. – We decided that this will work very well both in the city, as well as in natural surroundings.

The DE&CO competition has been organized since 2007. This year 9 teams took part in the competition final – from Turkey, Romania and Poland.

The competition is combined with a lot of attractions. This year, these included, for example, a trip to the construction site of the underground or integration events for the teams participating in the competition.

– The award celebration was held in a beautiful place with magnificent views of the Bosphorus – tells us Mateusz Rajda. – We were over the moon when we learned about our second place. We put in a lot of work and time in the event. There were better and worse moments but in the end we managed to complete everything and our success beautifully concludes it. We are proud of our achievement. It motivates us immensely for further development.

The nearest opportunity to see the awarded bridge are the Warsaw University of Technology Open Day (25 May) – Kartal 1 will be shown on the stand of the Bridge Engineers’ Student Research Group in the picnic area outside the Main Building. And what about further plans of the team? Taking care of relations with sponsors and next year, maybe participation in a competition like DE&CO – this time in Estonia.