Concrete Canoe Team wins regional competition

May 12, 2014

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Concrete Canoe Team

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — A team of engineering students from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville has been hard at work designing and building a canoe out of concrete. The team competed in the Midwest Concrete Canoe regional competition on April 26 at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, where they won first overall, and also received first in Final Product, first in Oral Presentation, first in Design Paper and tied for first in races.

“The completion of the canoe is a year-long project, and we started at the beginning of the fall 2013 semester with designing our own concrete mix, testing the concrete mix and building the mold.” said Chelsea Morgan, junior civil engineering major from Cameron, Wis. “We started building the canoe in mid-November of 2013. We sanded it smooth over Christmas break, and since then we have been working on the aesthetics of it.”

About 35 students have been involved in the construction of this year’s canoe. Weighing in at 165 pounds and slightly over 19 feet in length, the Crossroad is composed of a concrete mix containing tiny glass beads instead of sand or rocks for aggregate. “Something people don’t realize is that we actually put the canoe completely underwater and it floats back to the surface because it is so light and buoyant,” added Morgan.

Sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers for over 25 years, the concrete canoe contest challenges civil engineering students to design a canoe using modified concrete.  

The competition is judged on four criteria: a design paper, presentation, final product, and races. “We chose the design of the canoe because it is the same as last year’s, and we had success in the final product as well as racing,” said Morgan. Last summer, the 2013 team went to Champaign, Ill. for Nationals and placed 14th out of 23 teams nationwide, and the women paddlers finished fourth in the slalom endurance race. 

“We always like improving and getting more people involved in our project, so this year we made a more artistic canoe by recruiting a graphic design student,” said Morgan. “We are looking for an artistic student who would be willing to do art for us next year.”


Written by: Laura Janisch, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science Communications Student Writer, janischla@uwplatt.edu

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