One of the important parts of the PCI Foundation educational programs is that the students leave the school with a positive and educated opinion of the precast industry and products. The professors at Minnesota State at Mankato recently worked with several students on the PCI Big Beam Competition as part of their educational experience.
This was the fourth year that the school participated in the competition. The beam was fabricated at Wells Concrete and tested on May 18, 2016. More and more interest is being generated among students with the team size increasing considerably. This year's captain was able to benefit from having taken the Prestressed Concrete Design Course. Here is what the students said they learned:
Mahad (Senior): I learned about the conservative nature of some of the equations used in structural beam design and their derivation from experimental results. Overall, it was a great experience to fabricate our own beam and be able to see the mode of failure.
Alex (Junior): The biggest thing that I learned from Big Beam is that one must always consider practical restrictions beyond those that are accounted for in design calculations, when determining the dimensions of a prestressed/precast member to ensure an efficient and feasible product from paper to production.
Abdiweli (Sophomore): I learned to communicate beam drawings and pour tickets to our producer partner through the use of AutoCAD.
Abdiwahid (Freshman): Seeing the fabrication process of the beam was unique. I got a good understanding of the production process to turn a drawing into reality.
Samual (Freshman): It was a fun experience, being part of the big beam team this year. Among the numerous things I learned was how to test the concrete for viscosity and of course some videography techniques.