The American Institute of Steel Construction is offering cash prizes for developers who create apps that it deems useful to the steel design and construction industry.

Also, the AISC just released an app of its own to help workers, for any given job, select the correct bolt, washer and nut combination of the right material, steel grade, finish and manufacturer.

"There are only a handful of steel apps currently available," says Erin Criste, an AISC staff engineer. "So the AISC saw a need for more apps to assist with the design, construction, fabrication and erection of structural steel."

Contest entries must be submitted by Sept. 22. Awards are $5,000 for first place, $3,000 for second and $1,000 for third. Anyone with a U.S. bank account can enter by creating an open-sourced app and tweeting its URL to #SteelApps. Entrants also must be following the AISC on Twitter.

The contest hopes to create an open forum for the exchange of ideas to spur innovation in the steel industry, says Criste. The rules say the app must be in the public domain—that is, open-sourced. She says the AISC is leading by example: Development details for its new Build-A-Bolt app are open-sourced on the code-sharing site for developers to modify and use as a building platform.

Build-A-Bolt allows users to select the proper structural bolt, nut and washers (square and round) by giving diagrams of the components as well as graphics displaying the components' dimensions. Fastener components can be searched based on manufacturer or finish, such as galvanized, plain, zinc and aluminum, or inorganic.

The non-profit organization has released several other apps in recent years for Android and iOS devices. For more on the program, see