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Young Civil Engineering Professionals Volunteer at STEM Expo

by Jessica Pairrett 20. October 2016 12:09

Andy, Andrew and Tracy

Members of R.A. Smith National’s Young Professionals Group shared their love of engineering and science by volunteering at the ASCE–Wisconsin Section’s STEM Expo on Saturday, October 8. Attendees of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Expo included kids of all ages, from elementary through high school.

One of the exploration station tables led by the R.A. Smith National volunteers focused on disappearing water. By pouring colored water over a salt compound, participants discovered the salt’s high absorbency property. The water “disappeared” and was absorbed by the salt, bringing into question the importance of soil properties and stability as they relate to infrastructure and foundations.

At another station, the firm’s volunteers helped participants explore the basics of buoyancy through the “Build a Watercraft” activity. Using straws, tape, plastic wrap and a cup, children were prompted to build a model that could float. Once confident with their watercraft, they tested it out by placing it in the water with as many weights as possible in the cup until their model went under water.

A fun day was had by all, parents included, as simple science experiments were used to demonstrate real-world engineering concepts such as absorbency, soil stability and buoyancy. The event was held at the Milwaukee School of Engineering campus in downtown Milwaukee. In addition to having four volunteers representing the firm, R.A. Smith National was also a bronze sponsor of the event.

In the photos below, civil engineer Andrew Stasiukevicius helps children with the disappearing water experiment.
In the photo above are R.A. Smith National volunteers Andy Utic, Andrew Stasiukevicius and Tracy Diamond (Kristian Nygaard not shown).

Diekfuss Publishes Three Articles in Journal of Structural Engineering

by Jessica Pairrett 11. October 2016 11:20

Joe Diekfuss, Ph.D., P.E.

Co-authors Joe Diekfuss, Ph.D., P.E. (pictured at right), R.A. Smith National structural engineer, and Chris Foley, Ph.D., P.E., Marquette University Professor and Chair, Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, recently published three articles in the American Society of Civil Engineer’s (ASCE) Journal of Structural Engineering. The articles provide detailed summaries for portions of a recently completed research effort funded by the Wisconsin Highway Research Program and conducted at Marquette University.

The research focused on formulating a reliability-based approach for prescribing inspection intervals for mast-arm sign support structures throughout the State of Wisconsin. The results can be used by the engineering community to establish inspection intervals that better align inspection needs with limited fiscal and human resources.

The inspection intervals for each sign support correspond to user-specified levels of fatigue-induced cracking risk within their welded tube-to-plate connections. The fatigue-induced cracking risk is dependent upon a number of variables including location of the structure within the state, orientation of the mast-arm relative to north, fatigue detail category used at its tube-to-plate connection, the amount of signage it supports and the length of time it has been in service.

Click here to read more and view the abstracts.

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