Concrete canoe

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Coed sprint race at 2008 National Concrete Canoe Competition in Montreal, Quebec

A concrete canoe is a canoe made of concrete, typically created for an engineering competition.

In spirit, the event is similar to that of a cardboard boat race—make the seemingly unfloatable float. However, since concrete and other poured surfaces are an integral part of a civil engineer's education, concrete canoes typically feature more development than cardboard boats.

Principle[edit]

Ignoring hydrodynamic effects, all ships or boats float because the weight of the water they displace is equal to the weight of the boat (Archimedes' principle). However, many boats are made of materials that are denser than water, meaning that the boat will sink if filled with water. Although it is not required by the rules of the competition, some competitive concrete canoes have concrete mix designs that are less dense than water. They must pass a test in which the canoe is filled with water and pushed below the surface; the canoe must then resurface in order to qualify for racing. This is possible because, unlike normal concrete which uses sand and small rocks, concrete canoes are created with porous aggregates such as Macrolite and microspheres. However, because many teams still design their concrete mixes to be denser than water, in the United States, teams are allowed to insert concrete-covered, non-structural foam pieces in their canoes to make the canoes float after being submerged.

ASCE National Competition[edit]

The ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) National Concrete Canoe Competition (NCCC) provides students with a practical application of the engineering principles they learn in the classroom, along with important team and project management skills they will need in their careers. The event challenges the students' knowledge, creativity and stamina, while showcasing the versatility and durability of concrete as a building material.

Each year, the NCCC, which is held in mid-June, is hosted by an ASCE Student Organization. Some 200 university teams attempt to qualify for the NCCC by placing first in one of the 18 conference competitions held throughout the United States during the spring. Teams placing second in a conference competition behind a university that finished in the top five at the previous year's national competition are also invited. To be eligible to compete the entrant school must be a recognized ASCE Student Chapter or ASCE International Student Group. Typically, frontrunners include University of Alabama, Huntsville, University of Nevada, Reno, University of Florida, California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, the University of California at Berkeley, Clemson University, École de technologie supérieure, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

The winners of the ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition are determined by compiling the team's total number of points from the academic and race portions of the competition. Academic scholarships totaling $9,000 are awarded to the winning teams' undergraduate civil engineering program.

History[edit]

The history of Concrete Canoe in the United States actually began in the 1960s, when a small number of ASCE student chapters began holding intramural Concrete Canoe races. Then, in the 1971, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign held the first intercollegiate race against Purdue. In the more than 30 years since, the students’ efforts to combine engineering excellence and hydrodynamic design to construct water-worthy canoes have culminated in an advanced form of concrete construction and racing technique known as the “America’s Cup of Civil Engineering.”

In 1981 as part of the FIP congres in Stockholm, Sweden there was the 1st FIP international concrete canoe race.[1] won by the Danish team from Technical University of Denmark.[2] inspired by Herbert Krenchel

In 1988, ASCE expanded the competition to the national level, when Master Builders, Inc. (now known as BASF) signed-on to become the sole corporate sponsor for the event. In its first year, 18 teams of enthusiastic civil engineering students from the nation’s premier academic programs gathered in East Lansing, Mich., to test the waters of this innovative and educational event. Over the next two decades, the competition became a great success, with regional winners traveling across the country by plane, train and Ryder truck, canoes in tow, in their quest to become National Concrete Canoe Competition champions.

As competition was developing in the United States, the idea had also taken hold in other countries. Today, concrete canoe racing happens around the world in places like Germany, South Africa, Canada, Japan and the United Arab Emirates; and with sponsorship from ASCE and the American Concrete Institute (ACI), the 2007 National Concrete Canoe Competition winning team, University of Wisconsin - Madison, travelled to the Netherlands to represent the United States in the 30th Annual Dutch Concrete Canoe Challenge.

The Concrete Canoe Competition is designed to provide civil engineering students with an opportunity to gain hands-on, practical experience and leadership skills by working with concrete mix designs and project management. Organizers, sponsors and participants are dedicated to building awareness of concrete technology and application, as well as the versatility and durability of concrete as a construction material, among civil engineering students, educators, practitioners, the concrete industry and the general public. They also strive to increase awareness among industry leaders, opinion makers and the general public of civil engineering as a dynamic and innovative profession essential to society. In its 21-year history, the National Concrete Canoe Competition has challenged the knowledge, creativity and stamina of more than 400 teams and 5000 students. In 2008, more than 200 teams competed in 18 conference competitions to qualify for participation at the national level.

Past Winners[edit]

Year Host City Host School Champion Second Place Third Place
1988 East Lansing, Michigan Michigan State University University of California, Berkeley University of New Hampshire University of Akron
1989 Lubbock, Texas Texas Tech University University of California, Berkeley Michigan State University University of New Hampshire
1990 Buffalo, New York State University of New York Michigan State University University of Maryland University of California, Berkeley
1991 Orlando, Florida University of Central Florida University of California, Berkeley University of Maryland University at Buffalo
1992 Fort Collins, Colorado Colorado State University University of California, Berkeley University of Alabama, Huntsville University of New Orleans
1993 Sacramento, California California State University, Sacramento University of Alabama, Huntsville Michigan State University University of California, Berkeley
1994 New Orleans, Louisiana University of New Orleans University of Alabama, Huntsville University of California, Berkeley University of New Orleans
1995 Washington, D.C. George Washington University South Dakota School of Mines & Technology California State University, Sacramento Michigan State University
1996 Madison, Wisconsin University of Wisconsin at Madison University of Alabama, Huntsville Michigan State University University of California, Berkeley
1997 Cleveland, Ohio Cleveland State University Florida Institute of Technology University of Alabama, Huntsville University of California, Berkeley
1998 Rapid City, South Dakota South Dakota School of Mines & Technology University of Alabama, Huntsville California State University, Sacramento Clemson University
1999 Melbourne, Florida Florida Institute of Technology Clemson University University of Alabama, Huntsville Oklahoma State University
2000 Golden, Colorado Colorado School of Mines Clemson University Oklahoma State University Florida Institute of Technology
2001 San Diego, California San Diego State University University of Alabama, Huntsville Clemson University Oklahoma State University
2002 Madison, Wisconsin University of Wisconsin Clemson University Université Laval Oklahoma State University
2003 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Drexel University University of Wisconsin, Madison Université Laval University of California, Berkeley
2004 Washington, D.C. The Catholic University of America University of Wisconsin, Madison Université Laval University of Alabama, Huntsville
2005 Clemson, South Carolina Clemson University University of Wisconsin, Madison Clemson University Michigan Technological University
2006 Stillwater, Oklahoma Oklahoma State University University of Wisconsin, Madison California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Clemson University
2007 Seattle, Washington University of Washington University of Wisconsin, Madison University of Florida University of Nevada, Reno
2008 Montreal, Quebec École de technologie supérieure University of Nevada, Reno University of California, Berkeley École de technologie supérieure
2009 Tuscaloosa, Alabama University of Alabama University of California, Berkeley École de technologie supérieure California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
2010 San Luis Obispo, California California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo University of Nevada, Reno École de technologie supérieure
2011 Evansville, Indiana University of Evansville California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo University of Wisconsin, Madison Université Laval
2012 Reno, Nevada University of Nevada, Reno California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Université Laval Michigan Technological University
2013 Homer, Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign École de technologie supérieure University of Nevada, Reno University of Florida

National Sponsors[edit]

Sponsors include BASF, Kiewit Corporation, American Concrete Institute, Holcim, Bentley Systems, Cemex, and Propex

Recent History[edit]

2013[edit]

The 2013 National Concrete Canoe Competition was held in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. École de Technologie Supérieure, Montréal took first place overall, followed by the University of Nevada, Reno in second and University of Florida in third. Notice that École de Technologie Supérieure is the first non American team who bring the first place home in the history of the competition (26th year).

2010[edit]

The 2010 National Concrete Canoe Competition was held in San Luis Obispo, California. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo took first place overall, followed by the University of Nevada, Reno in second and École de technologie supérieure, Montréal in third.

2009[edit]

The 2009 National Concrete Canoe Competition was held in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The University of California, Berkeley took first place, their first win since 1992 and fifth national title.

2008[edit]

The 2008 National Concrete Canoe Competition was held in Montreal, Quebec and hosted by École de technologie supérieure. The University of Nevada, Reno took first place, breaking University of Wisconsin–Madison's five year streak at the top spot (The University of Wisconsin–Madison placed sixth). University of California, Berkeley, who did not qualify in 2007 (The Berkeley canoe had been damaged in a collision with the University of Nevada, Reno canoe), took second while École de technologie supérieure, Montréal rounded out the top three.

2007[edit]

The 2007 National Concrete Canoe Competition was held in Seattle, Washington and hosted by University of Washington. The University of Wisconsin–Madison took first place, continuing a five year streak at the top spot (2003–2008). University of Florida took second while University of Nevada, Reno placed third and Western Kentucky University finished fourth.

Requirements and Preparation[edit]

Teams of engineering students will gather for a weekend designed to be both challenging and fun. Twenty-five percent of each team’s total team score will be based on the engineering design and construction principles used in the creation of their concrete canoe; 25 percent will be based on a technical design report detailing the planning, development, testing and construction of their canoe; and 25 percent will be based on a formal business presentation highlighting the canoe’s design, construction, racing ability and other innovative features. The remaining 25 percent of each team’s score is based on the performance of the canoe and the paddlers in five different race events: men’s and women’s slalom/endurance races, and men’s, women’s and co-ed sprint races.

For the purpose of the competition, concrete is defined as a mixture of cement, of which at least 30% (by mass) must be portland cement, and aggregate, which must constitute at least 25% (by volume) of the mix. The aggregate need not be conventional construction aggregate (sand, etc.), but may include materials such as hollow glass beads and fibers. Epoxy is not permitted. Up to 50% of the thickness of the canoe may be a reinforcement mesh.

Concrete canoe teams must design their canoes from scratch. Typically they create the shape of the hull with a computer design program specifically made for yachts, canoes, and other watercraft. The shape is optimized for racing. This hull shape is then given to a construction team, responsible for making a mold for the canoe to be formed on. A special concrete mix is designed over several months, emphasizing among other qualities, an optimal balance between strength and low density. The finalized mix design is placed on the form; the hull thickness usually ranges from about 3/8" to 3/4". Teams later spend hundreds of hours sanding and applying exterior graphics to their canoes for a nice finish. Scoring in the competition is based on the quality of construction, race performance, a design paper, and a business presentation.

Canadian Concrete Canoe[edit]

Year Host City Champion Second Place Third Place
1995 Montreal, Quebec, École de Technologie Supérieure  ???  ???  ???
1996 Montreal, Quebec, École de Technologie Supérieure Université Laval  ???  ???
1997 Montreal, Quebec, École de Technologie Supérieure Université Laval University of Toronto Université de Sherbrooke
1998 Montreal, Quebec, École de Technologie Supérieure University of Toronto Université Laval École de Technologie Supérieure
1999 Sherbrooke, Quebec, Université de Sherbrooke École de Technologie Supérieure Université Laval Queen's University
2000 Kingston, Ontario, Queen's University Université Laval École de Technologie Supérieure Queen's University
2001 Quebec City, Quebec, Laval University Université Laval University of Toronto Queen's University
2002 Toronto, Ontario, University of Toronto Université Laval École de Technologie Supérieure University of Toronto
2003 Montreal, Quebec, École de Technologie Supérieure Université Laval Université de Sherbrooke University of Toronto
2004 Moncton, New Brunswick, Université de Moncton Université Laval Université de Sherbrooke University of Toronto
2005 Windsor, Ontario, St Clair College Université Laval Ryerson University Dalhousie University
2006 Sherbrooke, Quebec, Université de Sherbrooke Université de Sherbrooke Université Laval Queen's University
2007 Kingston, Ontario, Queen's University Université de Sherbrooke École de Technologie Supérieure University of Windsor
2008 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Dalhousie University École de Technologie Supérieure Université de Sherbrooke Université Laval
2009 Montreal, Quebec, École Polytechnique de Montréal École de Technologie Supérieure Université Laval Université de Sherbrooke
2010 Toronto, Ontario, University of Toronto École de Technologie Supérieure Université Laval École Polytechnique de Montréal
2011 Quebec City, Quebec, Laval University Université Laval Université de Sherbrooke École de Technologie Supérieure
2012 Moncton, New Brunswick, Université de Moncton Université Laval École de Technologie Supérieure Université de Sherbrooke
2013 Montreal, Quebec, École de Technologie Supérieure Université de Sherbrooke École de Technologie Supérieure University of Toronto

Statistics[edit]

National News[edit]

National Appearance[edit]

  • École de Technologie Supérieure
  • École Polytechnique de Montréal
  • Mcgill University
  • Queen's University
  • St-Clair College / University of Windsor
  • Université de Moncton
  • Université de Sherbrooke
  • Université Laval
  • University of Toronto
  • University of/d' Ottawa
  • University of Western Ontario
  • Ryerson University

Concrete Canoe Community[edit]

Concrete Canoe competitions have a significant following from both present and past competitors. The concrete canoe community now includes a dedicated concrete canoe news website, ConcreteCanoe.org, which follows comptetitions around the world, as well as Concrete Canoe Magazine, which publishes scientific papers, studies, and articles written on the techniques used by top teams.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Canadian National Concrete Canoe Competition[edit]