UNF Engineering Students Win at PCI Big Beam Contest


The University of North Florida student Civil Engineering teams were selected as the regional winners (1st and 2nd) of the 2013 Engineering Student Design Award, also known as the Big Beam Contest, by the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI).  The team also placed sixth in the national competition, coming home with a grand total of $1,250 in award monies, provided by the SIKA Corporation and PCI.



 The 1st place winning team of UNF, sponsored by Gate Precast, included graduate student George El-Gharib who was the team captain and beam designer. In addition, the team included undergraduate students Kirk Philips, who also helped in the design and testing, and Hector Flores, who helped in the testing. The 2nd place winning team included team captain, William Vaughn, and Douglas Rhatigan and Willard Casale.



Dr. Adel El Safty, associate professor of civil engineering, served as the team’s faculty adviser. He taught the students the pre-stressed concrete design and calculations as well as coordinating with PCI and Gate Precast. The beam activities represent a component of Dr. El Safty’s course of prestressed concrete. University alumnus Tim Morgan and Sam Attallah assisted in beam set up and testing, while Tom Newton, Gate Precast’s vice president of operations, served as the team’s PCI producer.


The competition objective is for teams of students to design, fabricate, and test a precast, pre-stressed concrete beam with the help of local precast concrete producer members. Prizes are awarded based on efficient design, design accuracy, most accurate prediction of maximum load capacity and other categories.