In late 2017, Ozinga partnered with students from Notre Dame for the Engineering Student Design (Big Beam) Competition held by the Precast Concrete Institute’s Student Education Committee. During this annual competition, universities across the country must partner with a PCI producer to build a precast/prestressed concrete beam in hopes of winning a prize for best performance within different areas. Every year, the length and loading conditions of the beam changes, and this competition's specs included making a beam that was 22’ long. Ozinga partnered with Notre Dame for this competition in the past, and we were happy to do it again.
The competition required Notre Dame to design and discuss both the structural and concrete mixture components of the beam, which not only had to be 22’, but also had to undergo 2-point loading. After discussions, Notre Dame aimed for a concrete strength of 17,500 psi in out design, as this was the psi strength that earned Notre Dame the win during the 2015-2016 competition.
Overall, Notre Dame mixed five trial batches using the same ingredients, ultimately starting with the winning design from 2016 and making coarse aggregate, fine aggregate, water, and silica fume changes they deemed necessary. Their fifth trial ended up being the chosen mix, which resulted in workable, consistent, and strong concrete with a 10” slump and a 28-day strength of 17,655 psi.
In early December 2017, Notre Dame provided Ozinga with their mix. Our South Bend team used their design to batch the concrete, which was done using everyday aggregates, and donated the 2.5-cubic-yard mixture to the students who used it to cast the beam. Notre Dame students and Ozinga were excited at the final results, as the 28-day strength came out to 20,614 psi.
Results for the competition are not due until June 15, 2018, but Notre Dame is confident their current mix could earn them another top spot. Winning teams will be recognized at the 2018 PCI Committee Days and Membership Conference in Chicago.
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