If you ever thought concrete couldn’t float, think again. A team of BYU students are constructing a canoe made completely out of concrete.
These students are building it to compete in the National Concrete Canoe Competition which is held every Spring by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The project consists of more than eight months of planning, 500+ work hours and 25+ undergraduate engineers.
Head Captain, Melissa Adams, said students are also able to gain skills they couldn’t get in a classroom setting. “It allows students to get a hands on experience outside of college and is more like what they will experience in the industry,” said Adams.
The competition consists of four parts.
The physical design of the canoe, a technical paper which details the design process, an oral presentation, and the actual racing of the canoes.
Team members are assigned to various roles to focus on doing a good job as well as increase their knowledge and experience.
Mixture Design Captain, Hanna Opdahl, has enjoyed how creative and collaborative the project has been. “I think it’s a really great opportunity to be innovative and try different things and see how it works and test the results. That’s been a really neat experience as well as having an opportunity to work with my peers and help other students learn about concrete and how it works and as we are learning together each time we can get better,” said Opdahl.
The team spends the Fall semester designing, making computer drawings, and deciding on a concrete mix. The actual construction of the canoe takes place during the Winter semester.
Hull Design Captain, Evan Smith, said the experience and opportunities that come from this competition are just as valuable as the competition itself. “It has helped me gain some experience and has also helped me get my foot in the door for some internships that I have received in the past. Just because of this technical aspect that I have had that other applicants don’t have,” said Smith.
Next Spring, the competition will be held in Melbourne, Florida at the Florida Institute of Technology.