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Tam Waihang, Chen Siliu and Lu Jielin, Civil Engineering undergraduates of the University of Macau, won the third prize at the ‘5th Inter-University Invitational Civil Engineering Competition’ hosted by Tongji University in Shanghai from 26 to 30 January 2008. Led by Lam Chi Chiu, Lecturer of Civil Engineering, they competed with 15 teams from 13 universities in Asia, including Tsinghua University, Tongji University, the University of Hong Kong, Hanyang University, Korea, the National University of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur Infrastructure University College, Malaysia. The organizer also invited three more teams of which one was from the United States and one was from Italy to take part for promotion of the competition to an international level.

The aim of the competition is to develop friendship and to enhance better understanding among civil engineering students with different cultures from different regions of Asia. It is also expected that, through this competition, closer ties and improved relationships can be established between the departments of civil engineering of the invited universities. The first competition was held in Tsinghua University in 2000. The University of Macau was the host of the third competition in 2004. In each competition, students compete on a theme in structural engineering as well as other games in engineering designed by the host university.

The theme of the competition this year was to design and fabricate a crane-like structure to withstand vertical loading, horizontal loading, as well as combined vertical and dynamic horizontal loading. The main materials for fabrication were 1mm thick balsa wood slats and 1mm diameter nylon cords. In the competition, each team was required to submit a report of their structural design first, and then finish the fabrication of their designed model within two days. The erected structure was then qualified after passing all three loading tests. Models by 11 of the 18 teams were qualified. The prize ranking of the qualified model was then decided based on the total weight and deformation of the structure. The lightest model which also satisfied the deformation requirement set by the organizer received the highest ranking. In this competition, the lightest model was 56g, and the heaviest one was 336g while the model by the team of the University of Macau was weighted 128g. The team from Tongji University received the first prize, and the team from the University of Macau had the third prize. The students and teachers are very excited about obtaining this good result. Through this competition, not only did the students have the opportunity to meet with students and professors from other universities, it also provided opportunities for students and professors from other universities to get to know more about the University of Macau. The next competition will be held in the National University of Singapore in 2010.