NCCC Tech Wars 2011
On January 12, 2011, MCEER Information Service's Andrew McNeil participated in the 2011 NCCC Tech Wars event. NCCC Tech Wars is an annual student competition presented by the Western New York Technology Education Association (WNYTEA) representing Erie and Niagara Counties. This year's competition marked the 14th anniversary for this event and was held at Niagara County Community College (NCCC). Over 700 middle and high school students from 24 area schools participated in multiple events from autonomous robot construction to wind turbine competition.
This year marked the inaugural unveiling of the Seismic Design competition whereby teams were tasked with designing a scaled model of a multistory commercial office building out of Number 2 pine wood. The students were required to follow rigid structural dimensions resulting in models that were at least 60'' in height and had a minimum of 15 floors. Dead loads were added to the models to simulate the weight of the real-world materials involved in actual construction. The models were then fastened to a portable shake table and subjected to three scaled and modified ground motion simulations.
The Seismic Design competition was a joint collaboration between MCEER Information Service and Technology Education teacher Tom Mallon from Barker Central School District. The contest was modeled on the annual EERI Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition. As a new entry in Tech Wars, few knew what to expect, but all came away excited by the prospects. The student models proved stronger than were initially thought, but with the mantra of "test to failure", the students were eager to see their structures shaken until there was little but a pile of sticks on the floor.
The event coincided with the one-year anniversary of the devastating Port-au-Prince, Haiti earthquake; the consequences of which could have been greatly lessened were the city built to more stringent seismic design standards. This day served as a reminder of the real-world application of the skills the students were demonstrating during the competition.