Wednesday, May 31, 2023 | Dhu al-Qaadah 10, 1444 H
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Omani students shine in Dubai wooden bridge competition


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It may look like fun and games, but a wooden bridge competition is actually very challenging, testing the innovation and creativity of participants as well as their intelligence and education.

For the annual Wooden Bridge Competition organised by the American Society of Civil Engineering and American Concrete Institute at the American University in Dubai, the team from Sultan Qaboos University has proven that they have what it takes to think creatively and mathematically after winning first place in the competition.

The team comprised five civil engineering students, namely Ahmed al Fahdi, Ammar al Hatmi, Mujahid al Subhi, Nabras al Mashrafi, and Shaith al Shereiqi. They were judged the winners because of the durability, strength, and integrity of their designs.

A wooden bridge competition can be organised as a way to teach students or participants about the principles of engineering, physics, and material science. The competition can challenge the participants to design, build, and test a wooden bridge that can carry a certain weight or withstand certain forces. Through this process, the participants can learn about structural mechanics, load-bearing capacity, deflection, and other important concepts.

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For this competition, a set of restrictions was put in place, including the amount of wood and nails used, and the second weight measured the carrying power of the wooden bridges.

Participants were challenged to come up with novel solutions that are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing, sustainable, and cost-effective, inspiring new ideas and approaches in the field of bridge engineering.

Three teams from the civil, architecture, and engineering departments got nominated, and one of the teams emerged as the winner.

The team acknowledged that they encountered numerous challenges and struggles and initially thought that winning the competition was difficult.

While they were busy preparing for the competition by coming up with unique designs and building solutions, they were also busy with their studies.

They also shared that, while they have access to the best machines and equipment, there is a need for precision that requires a lot of focus and concentration.

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The team shared that it took sheer will, dedication, and determination to complete and create the winning design.

Wooden bridge competitions serve as a way to engage the local community and promote teamwork and collaboration. The competition is the best place to showcase the skills and expertise of participants to potential employers or clients. Winning the competition is a prestigious achievement that enhances one’s professional profile and reputation.

For the winners, what they treasured the most was having been given the opportunity to put their theoretical skills into use as well as challenge their understanding of the practical application.

Nabras al Mashrafi, a member of the winning team, shared that he was very happy to have the opportunity to experience what they went through and have something to show for it.

Al Mashrafi added, “My participation in this competition taught me to devote my efforts to achieving my goals and aspirations and expanded my capacity to work under pressure, practice time management, and cooperate with others.”

“We learned many crucial skills related to our major,” he said.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and American Concrete Institute (ACI) student chapters at the American University in Dubai (AUD) had been instrumental in organising the competition.

They designed the competition to provide an opportunity for engineering students to shine outside the confines of classrooms and provide them with an event that brings together a wide variety of students for a friendly competition centred on bridge design and testing.

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