Miri – 18 October 2011 – Teamwork and strong theoretical knowledge paid off for students from Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) when their team came in third at the recent Asia Pacific Universities Build and Break Competition 2011.
The Asia Pacific Universities Build and Break Competition is a structural design competition for civil engineering students in the Asia Pacific region jointly organised by the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) Malaysia and Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) and supported by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia.
The competition’s objectives are to nurture creativity in structural design amongst civil engineering students and put the knowledge and theories they have learned into practice.
The 1-day event, which was held at the UNITEN campus, saw the participation of 53 teams from Malaysia and neighbouring countries.
At the competition, each team was required to construct a model bridge using satay sticks, cotton string and masking tape. Their bridges had to have a minimum 0.8 metre span length and had to be able to carry a load of up to 1 kilogramme.
Judging was based on the bridges’ structural viability and efficiency (ratio of span length with load to the weight of the model). The teams whose bridges achieved the stipulated load but had the lowest self weight were awarded the highest points.
Curtin Sarawak was represented by second and third-year Civil and Construction Engineering students Chai Kah Seng, Raymond Chow Han Seng, Lam Ka Kitt, Tsang Kwan Yeon and Wong Siaw Jye. The team, under the supervision of civil and construction engineering lecturer Brabha Hari Nagaratnam, designed and constructed an arch bridge spanning 1.38 metres that successfully carried the stipulated load.
According to Chow, their arch bridge design garnered a lot of attention and admiration from other teams for its clean construction and creative use of the materials provided.
“We applied our knowledge of structural analysis and properties of materials to come up with our design concept which utilised the strength of the materials given to us,” said Chow.
Meanwhile, Lam related that the team did well because of the synergy between its members. He said the team demonstrated excellent teamwork, good planning and time management, such that it managed to complete the construction of its model well within the allocated time.
“We have a strong team as all our team members have a very good understanding of structural behaviour,” he remarked.
Chai, Wong and Tsang also shared Lam’s sentiments. Wong opined that their strong theoretical foundation helped them achieve success, while Tsang believes the team members proved the practicality of their Civil and Construction Engineering studies at Curtin Sarawak.
Lecturer Brabha commented that the team’s arch bridge model was aesthetically one of the best, very stable and could carry and distribute the load properly without failure. She also acknowledged the students’ creativity and efficiency in using the given materials.
The Civil and Construction Engineering programme offered at Curtin Sarawak is a four-year honours programme fully accredited by the Board of Engineers Malaysia and Engineers Australia, the governing professional engineering body of Australia. The programme has experienced significant growth since its inception and over 40 students have graduated from it.