Depending upon concrete to keep you afloat sounds like a dangerous idea. That’s one of the reasons why the Concrete Canoe Team at the University of Missouri-Rolla has named its 2007 canoe “Dangerous Curves.”
“The design incorporated some interesting curves into the hull of the canoe,” says David Weidinger, one of the team’s leaders.
The UMR Concrete Canoe Team will compete in a regional event against more than a dozen teams from other universities April 26-28 in Lawrence, Kan. The University of Kansas is the host team. Each of the teams must demonstrate that its canoe can float during a “swamp test” prior to the competition.
Normal concrete used in a construction project weighs about 150 pounds per cubic foot. For these canoes, lighter aggregate mixtures of concrete are used. In order to float, the concrete must weigh less than the unit weight of water, which is 62.4 pounds per cubic foot.
According to Weidinger, the UMR concrete mix is ultra-light but also strong and extremely buoyant.
Dangerous Curves is nearly 20 feet long. UMR students have been working on it all semester. Styrofoam sheets were cut, glued together, coated with dry-wall joint compound and coated with “aero epoxy” to give the mold a smooth finish. After that, the concrete was mixed and placed into the mold during one continuous pour. The team is now working on the final step, which is to apply a sealer that will prevent water absorption during races.
The teams are judged on design, aesthetics, durability and performance in races. Judges also review technical papers and oral presentations.
The competition features two- and four-person races, including coed races.
“Last year, our paddlers placed in the top three in almost every race,” Weidinger says. “This year, we hope to bring home a few gold medals.”
The rules and regulations of the regional competition are modified and updated from year to year to address issues that have occurred in the past. All of the teams must follow rules and design specifications.
Members of UMR’s 2007 Concrete Canoe Team include:
– Kendrick Callaway, a senior in mathematics from Orrick, Mo.
– Mark Ezzell, a junior in architectural engineering from East Peoria, Ill.
– Diane Franken, a senior in geological engineering from High Ridge, Mo.
– Noah Husman, a senior in mechanical engineering from Viburnum, Mo.
– Miranda Jones, a senior in civil engineering from Harrisburg, Ill.
– Tim Kibler, a senior in metallurgical engineering from Sullivan, Mo.
– Josh Mongler, a senior in chemical engineering from Rolla
– Greg Morse, an undeclared freshman from Poplar Bluff, Mo.
– Michael Murphy, a senior in civil engineering from Dixon, Mo.
– Jesse Scott, a senior in environmental engineering from Rolla
– Kevin Simms, a junior in mechanical engineering from Kansas City, Mo.
– Rachel Swearingin, a junior in environmental engineering from Lawson, Mo.
– Matthew Vitello, a senior in geological engineering from Marshfield, Mo.
– David Weidinger, a senior in civil engineering from Vienna, Mo.