WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) announced that along with the National Science Foundation, it is co-sponsoring a student competition on cold-formed steel design at the University of North Texas (UNT). The competition was launched by UNT Professor Cheng Yu in early April and the projects are due on May 31, 2011.

“This competition is being held to promote higher education in cold-formed steel structural design and to encourage students to use their creative thinking skills to solve engineering problems,” said Jay Larson, P.E., F. ASCE, managing director of AISI’s Construction Technical Program. “It is the first of its kind that we are aware of that challenges both undergraduate and graduate-level students on a national level to take on a cold-formed steel design problem and solve it using an open source software. We’re looking forward to seeing the creative solutions that these students bring to the competition.”

The challenge is to design an optimal cold-formed steel cross-section shape. The optimal shape will yield an as-high-as-possible critical elastic buckling load for half-wave lengths equal to or less than 12 inches when uniform compression stresses are applied. The elastic buckling analysis is determined with open source software, CUFSM. Participants should visit the website www.etec.unt.edu/public/cyu/CFS_Competition.htm to download the software, access problem parameters, and review project submission requirements.

The competition is open to all full-time undergraduate or graduate-level students. The student must work on the challenge individually. Team solutions will not be accepted.

Three winners will be selected by a panel of judges that are nationally recognized in the area of cold-formed steel design:

  • Cheng Yu, Ph.D., assistant professor and coordinator of the Construction Engineering Technology Program, University of North Texas
  • Cristopher Moen, Ph.D., P.E, assistant professor, Virginia Tech
  • Tim Bell, branch engineer, Simpson Strong-Tie
  • Rick Haws, P.E., technical services manager, NUCONSTEEL, A Nucor Company
  • Ken Stout, Automated Framing Systems Customer Service, Training, and Support Supervisor, NUCONSTEEL, a Nucor Company

Competition winners will be notified in June, with award plaques presented to each. The winning submissions will be exhibited at industry conferences. For more information on the competition, contact Cheng Yu, Ph.D., at cyu@unt.edu.

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