Winners Announced in 2014 Student Competition on Cold-Formed Steel Design

January 27, 2015

After receiving entries from students in the U.S., Brazil, Canada, China, and Thailand, sponsors of the 2014 International Student Competition on Cold-Formed Steel Design have announced the winners.

The competition, hosted by the University of North Texas, helps promote a professional interest in cold-formed steel, an economical and recyclable construction material, by encouraging the participation of students in any major who are creative and eager to learn new technologies. The competition was launched by Dr. Cheng Yu, associate professor in the Department of Engineering Technology and coordinator of the Construction Engineering Technology (CNET) Program (Yu is to the right in the photo).

“We were pleased with the entries, which included more international participation than previous competitions, and the designs were more practical for actual production” Yu said.

Open to both undergraduate and graduate students, the competition received 42 entries from:

  • Chongqing University, China
  • Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
  • Drexel University, U.S.
  • State University of Campinas, Brazil
  • Tongji University, China
  • University of North Texas, U.S.
  • University of Waterloo, Canada
  • Virginia Tech, U.S.

The competition called for entrants to design an optimal cross section shape for a 96-inch long cold-formed steel stud column which provides adequate compression strength and utilizes the least amount of material. The judging panel carefully reviewed all entries and chose a UNT student, Chris Willis, as the first place winner (Willis is to the left in the photo). Willis majored in Integrative Studies and graduated in December 2014. He is planning pursue a Master's degree in Civil Engineering. 

For his undergraduate degree plan at UNT, Willis took several CNET courses including Dr. Yu’s Light Gauge class, where he was first presented with the problem for the competition.

“By the time I had the assignment done, all I really needed to do was write the essay to have the submittal package for the competition complete, so I figured, 'Why not?'  I felt that I actually had a pretty good design. I still didn't expect to win, but I thought I might be able to at least make the top 10,” Willis said.

Second and third places went to Zongya Xu, Tongji University, and Benjamin Dow, University of Waterloo, respectively. The top three students will be recognized with a plaque and monetary award. The winning designs also will be exhibited at professional conferences. The top 10 students will receive a one-year Cold-Formed Steel Engineers Institute (CFSEI) membership.

Co-sponsors of the 2014 competition included the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), CFSEI, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the University of North Texas, and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).  In 2010, Yu was awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award for a five-year research project to study the design of cold-formed steel shear walls.

Read the AISI press release on the 2014 International Student Competition on Cold-Formed Steel Design.

Read coverage of the student competition at DesignandBuildwith Metal.comCivil and Structural Engineer website, Construction Canada website and Metal Construction News website.