6th Annual Billiken BEAMS Competition

6th Annual Billiken BEAMS Competition

Building Engineering Awareness in Metro St. Louis Schools

Dates to Remember

October 12, 2015

Registration Opens


November 13, 2015
Registration Closes

November 21, 2015
Competition WorkshopsEach team will attend a 30-45 minute consultation between 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. The time slots for the workshop will be assigned based on registration order. 
McDonnell Douglas Hall

February 19, 2016
Bridge Reports Due - Reports must be sent via email as a PDF to event planners. Further details will be provided at the Workshop appointments.
Location: McDonnell Douglas Hall

February 27, 2016
Billiken BEAMS Competition
Check-in begins at 9:30 a.m.
Competition begins at 10:00 a.m.
McDonnell Douglas Hall Rotunda
Saint Louis University
3450 Lindell Boulevard
St. Louis, Missouri 63103

Bridge Evaluation & Awards

Awards will be given to the top three teams which are determined based on the total points earned during the evaluation process. Below are the categories and maximum points available for each category to be used in the evaluation of the bridges:

20 Points:Bridge Meets
30 Points:Load Carrying Capacity
Prior to Failure
20 Points:Load/Weight Efficiency
Ratio Prior to Failure
15 Points:Report of Design and
15 Points:Aesthetics
100 Total


Contact Information

For questions about registering for the competition or general event inquiries, please contact the Parks College Event Coordinator, at parksevents@slu.edu or by calling (314) 977-8443.

If you have questions regarding the bridge design, construction and or rules, you may contact Dr. Ronaldo Luna, Ph.D, PE, Director of Billiken BEAMS, at rluna@slu.edu or by calling (314) 977-8372.

About  Billiken BEAMS

Welcome to the 6th annual Saint Louis University Building Engineering Awareness in Metro Saint Louis Schools Competition, Billiken BEAMS! The competition is hosted by SLU’s American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) student chapter and is open to high school students in the metropolitan Saint Louis Area. The Billiken BEAMS Competition is a group based project opportunity in which students use their innovation to build a road based bridge out of balsa wood and then compete against other groups throughout the Saint Louis area. The winning team will design, construct and test the most effective bridge that meets competition evaluation criteria.

Model bridges are intended to be simplified versions of real-world bridges which are designed to carry one or more point loads and usually carry some kind of distributed load. A road bridge is typically designed to accept a load in any position and permit the load to travel across the entire bridge.

The object of the competition is to see who can design, construct and test the most efficient bridge. Efficiency (E) is calculated as
E = load supported (lbs) / weight of bridge (lbs).

Each team will design a bridge to meet the competition specifications. The team will bring a drawing of their design, with pertinent dimensions, to Saint Louis University’s McDonnell Douglas Hall on Saturday, November 21, 2015 (see important dates section in right column) to create a computer model of the bridge with the help of SLU faculty and students. McDonnell Douglas Hall is located at 3450 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63103.

The materials to use in the construction of the bridge will be provided to the teams at the end of the computer modeling session. The teams then have until the date of the competition to construct the bridge.

Participating teams will present their completed bridges for evaluation and testing on February 27, 2016. The competition will begin at 10:00 am. 

Competition Rules and Registration

In order to compete in the competition, groups of 2-4 students must register online. Once registration is open, you may begin the process by clicking the “register” button. Each team must designate a primary team contact. The primary team contact is usually an advisor, parent or student who will lead the group. The primary team contact will complete the registration for the entire team and complete the payment process. Please do not register as individuals.

Registration is open to the first 30 student groups who sign-up on a first come, first registered basis.

The registration fee is $25.00 per team. This fee covers all team members—regardless of how many students are on a team—all bridge construction materials, t-shirts for each team member, attendance at the preparation workshop and participation in the competition.