Civil Engineering Competitions: Concrete Canoe & Steel Bridge

The YSU American Society of Civil Engineers has been hard at work this year. The concrete canoe and steel bridge teams competed well at the Ohio Valley Student Conference in Columbus, Ohio (The Ohio State University) in April.

Concrete Canoe

The concrete canoe team placed second overall out of nine teams at their regional competition.

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There are four main categories for judging: design paper, oral presentation, final product, and racing.

2nd in design paper

4th in oral presentation

2nd in final product

2nd in racing

1st in men’s sprint
2nd in men’s endurance
3rd in women’s sprint
3rd in women’s endurance
2nd in coed sprint

The endurance races include a 100 m slalom with 500 m of additional course.

Men’s and women’s sprints are two 100 m straights with a 180 degree turn in between.

Both men’s and women’s races have two people in the canoe at a time.

The coed sprint has two men and two women in the boat, and the team must altogether complete 400 m of straight and three 180 degree turns.

Other schools in the competition included the University of Akron, Western Kentucky University, University of Cincinnati, University of Louisville, Cincinnati State University, University of Pittsburgh, Ohio University, and Ohio State University.

YSU team members included Miranda DeFuria (captain), Thomas Carnes, David Mendenhall, Leah McConnell, Karen Schilling, Nico Pagley, Gregory Lipp, Spencer DeSalvo, Kelly Hollis, Taylor Monroe, Jacob Millerleile, Julian Rosales, Montana Gessler, and Kenneth Anderson.

Steel Bridge

For this competition, students must design a 20′ scale bridge of a 200′ bridge. There are various design constraints that are given each year that present new challenges and are given in attempt to make this design experience as close to a real-life situation as possible.

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The factors that decide the score are as follows:

  • the weight of the bridge
  • the amount that the bridge deflects when loaded with 2500 pounds
  • how quickly the bridge can be assembled at the competition
  • the appearance of the bridge

The YSU team placed first overall

1st in lightness

1st in display

1st in structural efficiency

2nd in construction speed

2nd in construction economy

4th in stiffness

The team members included Tommy Carnes (captain), David Mendenhall, Leah McConnell, Karen Schilling, Nico Pagley, Greg Lipp, Spencer DeSalvo, Miranda DeFuria, Montana Gessler, and Kenny Anderson.

Nationals are being hosted by Oregon State University May 26-27.

STEM Showcase is coming!

STEM Showcase will be holding its annual event on Sunday, April 21st, 2013 from 2-4:30 pm. STEM Showcase is a celebration of student accomplishments. Primarily, students will be showing off their design projects to their parents, friends, teachers, and the community. Some students will be showing their research along with their advising faulty. There will be displays of projects and informal presentations.

STEM Showcase started a little over ten years ago for mechanical engineering students and later all engineering students. Now open to all STEM students, the STEM College is looking forward to showing off its students and their accomplishments. Last year there were approximately 30 projects and had a record number in attendance.

The STEM Showcase will be held in Moser Hall or, if weather permits, outside Moser Hall. There will also be 15-20 minute tours of the STEM College laboratories.

STEM SHOWCASE 2013 Flyer

STEM Showcase

In Moser Hall, engineering projects such as the concrete canoe, steel bridge, and moon rover, competed for space with posters including one which described research that developed a mathematical modeling of fracking, for example, as approximately  30 student projects were on display at the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Showcase held on Sunday, April 22. The three-hour event provided an opportunity for STEM students to present their projects to peers, faculty, and the community.

In addition, Dr. Nathan Ritchey, chair of the Mathematics department, welcomed roughly 40 outstanding high school seniors into the STEM Leadership Society (SLS). These incoming fall 2012 students, among the best graduates from their high schools, were selected based on their written application and in-person interview. These outstanding student leaders will have the chance to be engaged in community service, research, and internships through their four year program as STEM majors at YSU.

Upcoming member Matt Pelch, senior at Howland High school will be majoring in computer engineering, and said that computer courses and interest in video games lead to his decision to enroll at YSU. Pelch added that he looks forward to be a part of SLS and YSU.

STEM students spent months, or longer on projects, typically in teams. A part of NASA’s Great Moonbuggy Race, Mike Uhaus and his team were on hand to show their moonbuggy rover, which was a part of a national competition. The event is held in Huntsville Alabama, and high school and college students may participate. Two riders, one male and one female, face away from each other to pedal this human-powered vehicle. Uhaus noted that “last year the team experienced a suspension failure” so for this year’s competition the team focused primarily on suspension design.

Senior mechanical engineering student Chris Fenstermaker and his team worked with Canfield, Ohio, Linde Hydraulics, on the hydraulic system for wind turbine. The team, found, researched, and purchased a small- scale wind turbine then “designed a hydraulic system to fit the turbine size that we purchased.”

Junior Mechanical Engineering student Ken Minteer worked with art student Chris Kamykowski on a Collaborative Learning (CoLab) project. CoLab is an effort from the College of Fine and Performing Arts and STEM to bring art and engineering together.

Minteer described how Kamykowski wanted to make a barrel of monkeys cast out of bronze. With Kamykowski’s design, Minteer made templates on SolidWorks, a 3D program. “From there” Minteer said “we printed them out on our thermal jet printer.” In Bliss Hall, Kamykowski was able to finish the process by baking the molds and pouring the bronze from the two-coil induction furnace located in the art department.

The 2012 Showcase marked a hike in attendance. STEM students were able to present their hard work to families, media, and the community, who were able to see first-hand the capabilities of STEM College students. Also, high school students from area schools were in attendance to learn more about the YSU STEM program, and opportunities for research and project activities.

STEM Showcase

On April 22, Moser Hall was the location for the annual College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Showcase. The three hour event serves as a way for undergraduate STEM students to present their research projects to the campus community, as well as have high school students see, first hand, the opportunities available at the College and YSU.

The Moser Hall atrium buzzes with activity.

About 30 projects were on display, such as the concrete canoe and moon rover. STEM faculty was also present to guide tours through research laboratories and answer questions.

In addition, Dr. Nathan Ritchey, chair of the Mathematics & Statistics Department, welcomed incoming Fall 2012 YSU students who will be inducted into the STEM Leadership Society (SLS).  Through an application process, SLS accepts exceptional high schools students majoring in any STEM discipline.  The students will be involved in community service, internships, and various research initiatives.

YSU Engineering Students Win Concrete Canoe Competition

ASCE posing at the lake with their canoe.

Youngstown State University’s Concrete Canoe team dominated their regional competition at the University of Pittsburgh on March 30, placing first in four out of five races. The team also won first place awards for best design paper and best finished product, and placed first overall in the competition. They qualified to participate in the National Concrete Canoe Competition to be held June 15-16 at the University of Nevada, Reno. Nathan Knapp, a senior in civil engineering, is the concrete canoe team captain.

The competition was part of the annual American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Ohio Valley Student Conference, attended by civil engineering students from thirteen universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, Akron, Cleveland State, Carnegie Mellon, Ohio State, Ohio University, Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, Louisville, and Western Kentucky. The YSU students also placed second in the steel bridge building competition, earning an invitation to the National Student Steel Bridge Building Competition to be held May 24-26 at Clemson University in South Carolina. Dan Phillips, a civil engineering graduate student, is the steel bridge team captain.

In other conference events, the YSU Environmental Design team placed third out of ten teams in a contest requiring the removal of barium from hydraulic fracturing wastewater, and third place in the balsa wood bridge competition. Fourteen YSU engineering students attended the conference, along with faculty advisor, Dr. Scott Martin, and practitioner advisor, Adam DePizzo.

The team poses with their award plaques.

STEM College students Begin Work on Concrete Canoe

Students from the STEM College begin work on the annual concrete canoe competition hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Nathan Knapp, the team’s captain, said, “I want to expand my knowledge of the overall concrete canoe competition and pass my experiences to underclassmen. I hope to represent Youngstown State University at the national level.”

Nathan is a senior Civil Engineering student who has worked on the canoe project in the past. His team of eight other students includes Sammie Rovnak, Joe Reedy, Allison McMillen, Kim Klonowski, Mike Kaldy, Sentel Rodgers, Chris Jones, and Dan Phillips. They are working on the initial mix design first by using last year’s formula and improving it to be lighter and less dense. The team is performing a structural analysis to make sure the thickness of their hull design can withhold the pressure. The hull of the canoe can be no more than 22 feet long and 36 inches wide so the students are working to make sure the mix can withstand those dimensions and remain light for optimal racing agility.

The next step is to finish the mold. The cross sections for the mold are cut, and the team will pour the concrete on “place day” in December. Then, it will be sanded down, and a drywall compound will be applied to compliment the finish. Graphics and aesthetics will then be applied, and the students hope to have enough time to practice with it in the water.

The regional competition will take place on March 29-31, 2012 at the University of Pittsburgh where they will compete against other universities across the country and Canada. Schools that have competed in the past include Akron University, Western Kentucky, Ohio State University and Ohio University. The team must prepare a design paper and will also be judged on an oral presentation and the aesthetics of the canoe. Then, they will race it. Last year’s team placed second, and if they win this year, they will advance to nationals held in Nevada. For more information on the competition, visit www.asce.org.

Dr. Scott Martin of Mechanical Engineering is the faculty advisor on the project. He said, “Working on projects like the concrete canoe provides a real opportunity for engineering students to enhance their professional skills. They improve their understanding of the things they learned in their Civil Engineering courses, and also develop communication, teamwork, project management, and time management skills. On top of all that, they have a lot of fun, and gain confidence that they can compete with engineering students from anywhere.”

OH Wow Fundraiser

OH Wow, the Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology, held a fundraiser in downtown Youngstown on September 25, 2011, promoting science and technology for younger children.  The STEM College participated by hosting a tent, packed with examples of projects STEM students have engaged in over the years.  Over 600 attendees came to the event and sampled the activities, including all of the exhibits contained within the Center itself, as well as a broad array of activities occurring on the street. The musical group, Hey Kid, also was present to offer children’s songs as part of the afternoon.

Families at Oh Wow! fundraiser learn about the fun kinds of rocks and minerals on display.

The College was well-represented, displaying the Concrete Canoe , the Steel Bridge, the singing Tesla Coil, a wind turbine,  the supermileage vehicle, a display of minerals courtesy of the Smith Museum, and the solar telescope.  Prof. Ray Beiersdorfer presented his amazing sideshow of science, and brought a collection of Madagascar hissing cockroaches that caught the attention of the young guests.  Children and parents lined the street to see all of the activities, and the weather cooperated, giving everyone a wonderful afternoon of science and technology in downtown Youngstown.  The STEM College was pleased to be able to support this event, enhancing the stature of STEM in our community and expanding the interest for our future engineers and scientists.