College students to build, race concrete canoes

While some people find it difficult to keep a normal canoe afloat, more than 400 engineering students think they have what it takes to construct and race a concrete one.

In the 19th annual American Society of Civil Engineers National Concrete Canoe Competition, qualifying teams from more than 20 universities will race their concrete canoes on Boomer Lake in Stillwater, Okla., June 15-17. Before the race, which will be hosted by Oklahoma State University, teams will be judged on their canoes’ aesthetics and adherence to design parameters, a technical paper and a business presentation.

Canoes must be maneuverable, lightweight and sturdy. Most crafts are constructed from high-tech aggregates and admixtures including latex, superplasticizers and fly ash. They must carry four paddlers and, as part of a swamp test, rise to the surface after being completely submerged.

The goal of the competition is to provide students with a practical application of engineering principles learned in the classroom while teaching them team and project management skills.

“The students that participate in the concrete canoe competition represent the future of the engineering profession, and more importantly, the future of our nation’s infrastructure,” said Dennis Martenson, president of ASCE. “Their dedication, innovation and creativity are inspiring, and they will surely continue to amaze us as they proceed in their careers.”

For more information about the competition, click here.