Civil engineering students don’t crack under the pressure of international competition, place 12th worldwide

ACIThe Texas A&M University student chapter of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) recently took the egg drop test to the next level by placing 12th worldwide in the ACI’s international concrete competition of egg protection devices.

The team also placed first in Texas and second in North America during the ACI Fall 2017 Convention’s Student Concrete Design Competition, hosted in Anaheim, California, Oct. 15-19. The objective of the competition was to design and build the highest-impact-load resistant plain or reinforced concrete egg protection device (EPD). At the competition, the contraption is dropped from increasing heights, the highest being three meters, which is about 9.8 feet.

Mostafa Jalal, civil engineering doctorate student in the Materials and Pavements Division, is president of the ACI-Texas A&M chapter and competition team mentor. Jalal said even with the challenges of working with team members and developing a successful design, the project was a great experience.

“It gives students an amazing chance to apply your knowledge and gain hands-on experience and, in the meantime, practice teamwork,” Jalal said. “The networking opportunity with students, professors and company representatives at the competition, along with (the) ACI exhibit and conference, is a unique opportunity that may not be found easily anywhere else.”

In the process of the project, teams had to learn and report on concrete’s sustainable benefits related to durability, impact resistance and other real-life aspects that an EPD simulates.

Brittany Beisert is a senior civil engineering major who aims to become a professional licensed, practicing civil engineer. She said she appreciated the professional, technical and social skills she learned and refined throughout the project. She said ACI-Texas A&M helped supplement the department’s goal of giving students hands-on learning opportunities and direct lines of communication to people in the industry.

“The experience felt like it was (a) once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go present a student project to industry professionals and international peers,” Beisert said. “I enjoyed and recommend attending any and every ACI convention for both the wealth of knowledge one can obtain from the speakers and guest lecturers, the interesting and new technology showcased on the exhibit flow, and the experience to travel and see a new and potentially exotic place.”

Aylie Hood, junior general civil engineering major, is interested in working in construction, with a focus in using energy-efficient designs and green solutions for new structures. She said the project provided her with learning opportunities that she would not have had in a classroom.

“Working with a team can be difficult with conflicting ideas and time management, but being a part of this one helped me learn how to overcome these situations, preparing me for my future career and other circumstances in life,” Hood said.