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ISU team competing in beam construction contest

A team of ISU graduate students has constructed a 20-foot-long concrete beam as part of a Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute Big Beam contest. The test of it will come Friday when the team learns what it takes to destroy it.

ISU said this type of construction has been used in many bridges around Idaho.

“The PCI Big Beam Competition provides the students with technical and practical experience in the use of precast/prestressed concrete,” said faculty advisor and assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering Mustafa Mashal. “It includes all stages of a technical project for a precast/prestressed concrete bridge beam. It includes concept design, analysis, detailed design, construction technology and experimental testing to verify the analysis/design process. It introduces the students to versatility that precast/prestressed concrete offers for construction of bridges, culverts, buildings and other type of structures.”

Final “destructive testing” of the beam is scheduled Friday morning at the Structural Laboratory at the Engineering Research Complex in Pocatello.

The beam is a 20-foot span. As part of the competition, the beam must not crack below 20,000 pounds of loading and must be designed to fail within the range of 32,000 to 39,000 pounds.

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