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CoE students to compete in a national geotechnical competition

Daniel Huaco, a CoE geotechnical team member at right, shows a group of Rock Bridge High School students how to build the type of miniature retaining wall he’ll help create in competition later this month. Photo by Rick Coffman

The CoE geotechnical engineering team is relying on a mix of experience and precision to repeat its 2005 victory at a national civil engineering competition.

Mizzou Engineering’s four–member team—comprising graduate student Daniel Huaco and undergraduate students Hendrik Schoeman, Bradley Koester and Daniel Kuhn—will compete Feb. 21 in the Geo–Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ retaining wall–building competition in Denver, Colo. The CoE team took top honors in the 2005 competition, defeating four other teams from across the nation.

“Two years ago, we won; hopefully we’ll do as well again,” said Huaco, a member of both the 2005 and this year’s teams.

Competing teams build walls out of poster board, reinforced by craft paper. The wall built to withstand the greatest weight with the least reinforcement wins the contest.

Huaco hopes Mizzou’s practical experience will help lead the team to another top finish. Team members, who earned a $2,000 travel grant from the Geo–Institute with their design report, have practiced extensively to determine just the right places to insert reinforcing paper in their wall, he said.

As a result, he said the team has been able to cut the amount of reinforcement in its design from 63 square inches to 45 square inches.

“I think they have a fantastic shot this time, because they’ve really done a great job on the design,” said team faculty adviser John Bowders, a CoE civil engineering professor.