Students participate in Big-Beam competition

7/17/2019 8:53:58 AM

Above: Team members with County Materials workers, left to right: Minsoo Sung, Melvin Cook, Pratik Deogekar, Nathan Rudolphi, Mark Tew, Zige Zhang and Yen-Feng Chen

A group of students from the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently participated in the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Big Beam competition. The competition involved designing, building and testing a 20-foot long prestressed concrete beam, which was required to satisfy design criteria outlined in the official rules. The team members were Pratik Sharad Deogekar, Yen-Feng Chen, Minsoo Sung and Zige Zhang, with Professor Bassem Andrawes acting as faculty adviser.

The competition’s design rules required the team to fabricate a beam that would withstand cracking before a total applied load of at least 20 kips, or 20,000 pounds of force, with final failure occurring at a total applied load between 32 and 40 kips. In addition to meeting these criteria, the team was awarded points for low cost, low weight and largest measured mid-span deflection. Additionally, the team was required to predict cracking load, failure load and ultimate deflection, with points awarded for the most accurate prediction.

The team designed a beam with Bulb T-section with half-inch diameter prestressing strands and #3 bars as compressive reinforcement. With help from their sponsor, County Materials Corporation, they fabricated the beam in the prestressing yard at Salem, Ill., and tested it in the Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory.

“We were able to successfully achieve the design criteria set forth in the regulations,” wrote Deogekar. “Our predictions for cracking load and ultimate load were fairly accurate while the ultimate deflection during testing significantly exceeded our expectation.”

The team submitted its final report with the test results to PCI in June 2019. Final results are expected to be announced in August 2019.