Concrete Canoe Places Second at Regionals

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The YSU chapter of American Society of Civil Engineers traveled to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, to compete in the Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge competitions at the end of March. The ASCE broke up into two groups, with one group designing and creating the bridge and the other designing and creating the canoe.

The concrete canoe placed second overall in the competition.

Miranda DeFuria, captain of the concrete canoe team, said she was a little nervous going into the competition. It was DeFuria’s first year as captain, and the team also had new paddlers who had never practiced before.

The team designed, tested and built the canoe. This year, the canoe had a Ghostbuster’s theme.

“Our first step was to figure out the hull design of the canoe, which is basically its shape. We used the same design from last year because it was very stable for our new and inexperienced paddlers,” DeFuria said. “We chose our mix design to be compatible with the new shotcrete method.”

She explained that a pneumatic shotcrete sprayer was used to place the concrete on the mold, which affected how mix of their concrete. The hull of the canoe was made from three layers of concrete with two layers of PBO (polyparaphenylene benzobisoxazole) in between each later of concrete. Once the mold was set, the team sanded the canoe and painted it to represent the Ghostbuster’s theme.

Before the canoe could compete in the five different races, it had to pass some preliminary tests.

“Everyone set up their displays and canoes for judging. Then canoes have to undergo a flotation test, also known as swamp testing,” DeFuria explained. “Each canoe must be placed in the lake, filled with water, and submerged under the surface. Two 25-pound sand bags also had to be in the canoe during the test. The canoe must be able to float to pass the test and participate in races.”

DeFuria said that since their canoe placed second overall, they did not qualify for the national competition. Even though they can’t move on, she is still happy with their success.

“It was such a rewarding experience to see the canoe at competition because of the amount of time and work we put into this project,” she said. “I am very proud of my team and am so thankful for everyone that made the canoe a success.  I love this project and cannot wait to see what the team will do next year.”

Unfortunately, the bridge was disqualified. In order to compete in the competition, the bridge had to hold 2,500 pounds. The steel bridge held 2,200 before it snapped.