Missouri KC, N. Arizona, Lehigh teams top PCI Big Beam Competition

Sources: Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, Chicago; CP staff

University of Missouri Kansas City, Team 2 took the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute 2021 Engineering Student Design Competition, also known as the Big Beam Competition. Students Jose Luis Ramirez and Juan Carlos Plasencia Chinchay prevailed with guidance from Civil Engineering Professor Thiagarajan Ganesh and Terry Fleck of Coreslab Structures (Kansas).

A video offered three angles of testing for the University of Missouri Kansas City Team 2 beam, which failed at deflection just short of 4 inches.

Now in its 21st year, Big Beam teaches college students structural engineering skills in an applied learning environment that will benefit them in their future professions. Teams and a faculty advisor design, build and test a 20-ft., precast, prestressed concrete beam. Local PCI-certified producers act as mentors. Entries are judged on the beam’s performance in stress tests, plus quality of beam analysis, report and overview video.

The 2021 Big Beam competition was sponsored by ALP Supply and PCI’s Aspire magazine. Cash prizes of up to $2,000 are awarded to the top performers in efficient design, highest load capacity, and other categories. Competition participants will be recognized at the 2022 PCI Convention, March 1-5, in Kansas City, Mo. Joining the Missouri KC Team 2 among top performers are counterparts from Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, second place; Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa., third place and best video; and, California State University, Sacramento, best report.

 “The Big Beam competition is an outstanding opportunity to introduce the next generation ofdesigners to precast, prestressed concrete,” says PCI President and CEO Bob Risser. “By working with member producers, students get a hands-on educational experience as well as learning about the industry. We hope the experience leads them to understand the benefits of precast, prestressed concrete throughout their professional careers.”

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