The West Point Bridge Design Contest is a nationwide Internet-based competition intended to promote math, science, and technology education in U.S. middle schools and high schools. The contest provides students with a realistic introduction to engineering through an engaging, hands-on design experience.
The West Point Bridge Designer will introduce you to engineering through an authentic, hands-on design experience. Official software used to enter the West Point Bridge Design Contest. This software provides you with the tools to model, test, and optimize a steel highway bridge, based on realistic specifications, constraints, and performance criteria.
Your objective is to create an optimal bridge design. An optimal design is one that satisfies all of the design specifications, passes a simulated load test, and costs as little as possible.
How the West Point Bridge Designer Works
When you use the West Point Bridge Designer, you will experience the engineering design process in simplified form. You will design a highway bridge in much the same way that practicing civil engineers design real highway bridges.
- You will be presented with a requirement to design a steel truss bridge to carry a two-lane highway across a river.
- You may choose from a wide variety of different site configurations for your bridge. Each will cause your bridge to carry in a different way, and each has a different.
- You will develop a design for your bridge by drawing a picture of it on your computer screen.
- Once your first design attempt is complete, the West Point Bridge Designer will test your bridge, to see if it is strong enough to carry the specified highway loads. This test includes a full-color animation showing a truck crossing your bridge. If your design is strong enough, the truck will be able to cross it successfully; if not, the structure will collapse.
- If your bridge collapses, you can strengthen it by changing the properties of the structural components that make up the bridge, or by changing the configuration of the bridge itself.
- Once your bridge can successfully carry the highway loading without collapsing, you can continue to refine your design, with the objective of minimizing its cost while still ensuring that it is strong enough to carry the specified loads.
The West Point Bridge Designer gives you complete flexibility to create designs using any shape or configuration you want. Creating the design is fast and easy, so you can experiment with many different alternative configurations as you work toward the best possible solution. The process you will use is quite similar to the process used by practicing civil engineers as they design real structures. Indeed, the West Point Bridge Designer itself is quite similar to the computer-aided design (CAD) software used by practicing engineers, and it will help you in the same way that CAD software helps them--by taking care of the heavy-duty mathematical calculations, so that you can concentrate on the creative part of the design process.
WPBD 2016 is available in two formats:
- WPBD 2016 for Windows - Requires Windows XP or newer.
- WPBD 2016 for Macintosh - Requires Mac OS X 10.7.3 (Lion) or later
This is the only version of the software that can be used for the 2016 Engineering Encounters Bridge Design Contest.
Disclaimer: This software was formerly known as the West Point Bridge Designer. It is now maintained and distributed by Engineering Encounters–a private, non-profit organization that is not affiliated with the U.S. government or the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
* West Point Bridge Designer download link provides freeware version of the software for West Point Bridge Designer 2016 Windows, West Point Bridge Designer 2016 Mac, West Point Bridge Designer 2015 Windows, West Point Bridge Designer 2014 Windows, West Point Bridge Designer 2013 Windows, West Point Bridge Designer 2010 Windows and West Point Bridge Designer 2007 for Windows.
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A quick tip: The lower down your bridge is the more stable it usually is. You can also add a piller into the middle of it and use lots of triangle and dimonds. Most stable shapes.