Future Bridge Builders Tour Elite

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July 17, 2018

This spring, Elite hosted a group of high school students from the state of Oregon for a tour of Elite’s Downers Grove laboratory. The students and their chaperones were in Chicago to participate in the 2018 International Bridge Building Contest held at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).

The mission of the IIT Bridge Building Contest is to promote the study and application of physics fundamentals in high school through a hands-on wooden bridge building project. The competition provides students an opportunity to experience the type of analytical thinking required of engineers. It is a hands-on design challenge to a set of specifications. Students develop their design, build it, and then test for scores. At stake are school pride, personal accomplishment, and a full tuition scholarship to the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Elite’s Oregon student visitors qualified to compete and represent the state against 52 other nationwide qualifiers. All performed incredibly well and finished in the top third of all contestants. Henry O’Scannlain-Miller finished in 2nd and Josh Seals 3rd overall.

During the tour of Elite students were able to view the type of work electrical and EMC engineers perform and learned about the significance of EMC for all types of products and applications.

Since the student bridge-builders were particularly interested in mechanical testing, Elite’s Environmental Testing team took time from their day to demonstrate the type of testing that is important to structural design.

Elite’s environmental test engineer, Eric Lindberg, set up and demonstrated a vibration resonance test. The test was configured to run a vibration resonance search on a flat aluminum cantilevered plate, the results of which were used to compare to calculated results that predicted the fundamental resonance and its harmonics.

Elite’s material test engineer, Nella Grandback, demonstrated our Materials Testing capabilities by setting up and completing a live impact strength test using Elite’s large MTS E22 Pendulum Impact Test System. This machine is capable of maximum impact energies up to 450J. Nella also ran a tensile strength test on a sample of aluminum using Elite’s 55,000lb MTS universal test machine.

The demonstrations helped students connect with the fact that the strength of materials can be stated in terms of several unique properties.

Thanks to all Elite staff for helping to inspire these future engineers!

In case you’re wondering why Elite hosted students all the way from Oregon, it turns out that Elite is “Linkedin” with Nestucca High School by way of Elite’s Sales and Marketing Manager, Steve Laya, and his daughter Sydney who is a teacher at the school. Nestucca High School is in the beautiful coastal town of Cloverdale, Oregon.