Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Ronald Bucinell




Composite, SAMPE, Sustainable


Composites are a category of engineering technology that utilizes a combination of two distinct materials to achieve a desired characteristic such as high strength, or high durability. The field of composites has a significant impact on the transportation, aerospace, and manufacturing sectors. One professional society, the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering, is leading the research and development of composites and their applications. Every year they host a student bridge competition for students to explore and learn about composite technology and the different classifications. Union College students have competed for many years in the Natural I beam category focusing on weight reduction. The goal of the competition is to withstand the category design load, in the Natural I Beam category 2400 lbf, while maintaining the lowest weight possible. The beam designed and manufactured this year employs a varying cross-sectional height in order to achieve constant stress along the bottom flange of the I-Beam. This creates a curved shape, reducing the excess material on the ends of the bottom flange, therefore reducing the weight of the beam. Poplar wood was chosen as the core material for its high strength and relatively low weight. A flax fiber pre-preg is the laminate material, which will be overlayed over the poplar wood and fixed in an autoclave. Multiple beams were manufactured for practice and testing. A final beam is being manufactured for the competition in Seattle, Washington in April 2023.



Rights Statement

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.