Students from all over France covet the supreme title of the Composite Bridge Contest. Our academics are doing some pretty incredible things, and at this event they demonstrated how innovative they are, and how they can bridge the gap between theory and practice.
The Composite Bridge Contest takes place each year during the technical symposium organized by SAMPE (Society of Advanced Manufacturing Process Engineering). This contest consists of designing and manufacturing a composite bridge from a kit provided by SAMPE, including unidirectional carbon fiber fabric and epoxy resin. A similar contest exists in the USA, which is split into 7 different categories (I-beam carbon or aramid fiber, square beam carbon fiber, open design, etc.).
Students have all school year to work on their project (design and simulation), generally from November to June. After the summer break, they have to build their bridge to present at the contest. This year, in Bordeaux, the tenth edition of this student competition gathered 13 teams. I was amazed that almost all of the teams (8 of 13) were using Dassault Systèmes tools (Abaqus, CATIA V5, SolidWorks or 3DEXPERIENCE)!
The day of the contest, each team exhibits their bridge, and also a bending benchmark on a real experimental machine is performed. The rules established by SAMPE constrain a minimal length and width, and a maximal weight. The winner is the one whose bridge has the most important specific resistance (force vs. mass). The bridges made by the students are using the same high performance composites material as in the aeronautical and space industry.
The 2018 results are not published yet, but for reference here is the 2017 results.
Below is a picture courtesy of Ecole Centrale de Nantes from the 2016 challenge.
Congratulations to all the teams who played the game!