Kevin Rens, professor and chair of civil engineering, has been selected as one of the first ever CU Denver Chancellor’s Engaged Scholars. This award and recognition is well deserved and is a great acknowledgement of Rens’ fantastic work with the City and County of Denver over the last 20 years – and the great work he will do over the next 20!
This award does not come without some obligations. Rens will spend time sharing stories of his work with fellow educators and industry in the city around us.
On April 5, the CU Denver steel bridge team competed at the regional AISC Steel Bridge Competition, which took place at CU Boulder.
The team, comprised of six civil engineering students – Hussain Almosawi, Dakota Chauncey, Valerie Do, Dustin Doll, Kyle O’Hearn and Dinesh Panta – placed first in the state and third in the Rocky Mountain region. Next month, they head to the national finals at Southern Illinois University.
“We did a wonderful job and worked marvelously as a team. I could not be more proud of all my teammates and the things we accomplished,” said Chauncey, who served as the team captain.
The team set a personal best record build time of 11 minutes and 56 seconds, and ranked top three in many categories including stiffness (least deflection), economy (one of the faster build times after penalties) and total weight (of the bridge).
The AISC Steel Bridge Competition challenges civil engineering students through an intercollegiate competition where they are tasked to complete with a comprehensive, student-driven project from conception and design through fabrication, erection, and testing. The end result is a steel structure that meets client specifications and optimizes performance and economy.
This year’s competition challenged student teams to design a limited access, short-span bridge to cross a river near recent and past lava flows. The bridges are tested for stability, strength and serviceability, and must be able to support bicycles, pedestrians, park vehicles and emergency vehicles while prohibiting private motor vehicles. Teams were also required to construct the bridges under simulated field conditions.
“Our CU Denver engineers ranked first among all six Colorado schools and third overall,” said assistant professor Fred Rutz, the team’s faculty advisor. “While most other schools utilized the more traditional lattice truss, ours was an innovative steel arch. We benefitted from trial load tests conducted in our Structures Lab.”
Other state schools in attendance included University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, Air Force Academy, and Metropolitan State University of Denver. The event also included South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Utah State University, Brigham Young University and New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.
The team is now preparing for the national finals, for which they’ve set some hefty goals.
“For nationals, we are upgrading our bridge to reduce deflection and construction build time. Our goal is to build our bridge in under 10 minutes with an aggregate deflection under one inch,” said Chauncey. “We are hoping to establish the University of Colorado Denver’s Civil Engineering Department as one of the top programs in the nation, and encouraging the next class of students to became forward thinkers and carry the tradition of always pushing boundaries.”
How does one become the engineer of record on dozens of Denver’s infrastructure rehabilitation projects?
For Civil Engineering Professor Kevin Rens, PhD, PE – and the many students he’s mentored in both the classroom and the field – it’s quite simple. It comes down to loving the minutiae of the craft – identifying each crack in the pavement, rating the structural integrity of every component, and planning in precise detail the path to a longer life for bridges, streets, sidewalks, curbs and just about anything else that makes up Denver’s road system.