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A student of the WUT Faculty of Civil Engineering won the Young Engineer Challenge

Mateusz Frydrych

The entry of Mateusz Frydrych, a student of Civil Engineering, was named the best in its category in the 3rd Young Engineer Competition initiated by the Builder magazine. The paper explored the structural design of the Prince Jozef Poniatowski Bridge in Warsaw, Poland.

The winning project was based on Mateusz Frydrych’s diploma thesis, which focused on that historical monument spanning the banks of the Vistula river. That particular bridge was picked for a reason. “It all started with school trips to Warsaw. I was smitten with the sight of the majestic Poniatowski Bridge and I wondered how such a structure actually worked. Years later, I decided to find the answer to my question already as a student of Civil Engineering,” says the Challenge winner. 

Mateusz Frydrych studied the ins and outs of Civil Engineering in his dream specialization field of Bridges and Underground Structures. “The more I learned, the more amazed I got as the Poniatowski Bridge was only getting more interesting to me.” With the support of his supervisor, Prof. Henryk Zobel, Ph.D, D.Sc., Eng., that fascination was successfully turned into an engineering thesis.

The author focused his analysis on exploring the oldest part of the structure, i.e. spans III, IV, V and VI, located on the Warsaw city center side. The bearing system was designed by Prof. Stanisław Hempel of the Warsaw University of Technology back in 1944 to 1946. The structural design was upgraded by subsequent designers in 1960s and 1980s. To explore all these threads and combine them into one single model was one of the greatest challenges in the project.

A review of the historical structural solutions of the Prince Jozef Poniatowski Bridge using contemporary computing tools – fragments of the paper by Mateusz Frydrych.

The first steps into the project involved hours of studying the archive records of the Municipal Road Authority (ZDM) coupled with a review of hundreds of drawings covering a time span of almost 100 years. Once the inventory, geometry and characteristics of the bridge components were ready, a numerical analysis could be undertaken. The SOFiSTiK software was deployed at this stage, learnt from scratch by the student specially for the project. Its extensive dynamic module capturing multiple variables enabled results that were accurate and as close to real life as possible. In his analysis, the author factored in static and moving loads and information on the actual traffic on the bridge played a key role, e.g., the Warsaw’s heaviest possible tram, i.e., PESA 128N, was used as a proxy for railway load.  

Notably, the code created for the purposes of the project was written in such a way so as to ensure that other designers could use it too through an extension for further analyses.

The calculations confirm the previous survey reports. Interestingly, Mateusz Frydrych’s study was the first analysis of this kind that used the finite element method (FEM). The results were shared with the municipal authorities and will have a real impact on the future of the Poniatowski Bridge.

This year’s Young Engineer Competition has also honored other contenders representing the Warsaw University of Technology:

  • 3rd prize for a Connecting Project went to the team of Kamil Ambrozik (WUT Faculty of Architecture), Patryk Czaplicki (WUT Faculty of Civil Engineering) and Krzysztof Wiśniewski (Warsaw University of Life Sciences) and their concept of the “Konstancin-Jeziorna Railway Station as a prototype model of sustainable urban public space”;
  • Distinction (2nd prize) for Advanced IT & BIM Solutions and their Creative Implementation was awarded to Małgorzata Warda of the WUT Faculty of Building Services, Hydro and Environmental Engineering; and
  • Qualification for the finals of the Young Engineer Challenge was earned by Tadeusz Zwoliński (WUT Faculty of Civil Engineering) with his project “Assessment of the strength and a proposal for reinforcement of a steel fly ash silo”.

Besides, the 2nd prize in the Young Architect Competition went to Anna Kaim, a graduate from the WUT Faculty of Architecture. The judging panel appreciated her Large Panel System building revitalization project.