This year, the concrete canoe team at Missouri University of Science and Technology is confident they will pass “the swamp test.”
Last year, the team put its canoe in a big tank of water prior to a competition at Lake Fayetteville, Ark., and found out that it didn’t float very well. Later, during the competition, several S&T paddlers got wet.
But the 2009 canoe appears to be more seaworthy. “We have already confirmed that we will pass the swamp test,” says Mark Ezzell, the team’s president.
Southern Illinois University-Carbondale is hosting the 2009 regional concrete canoe competition April 15-18. The competition features two- and four-person races, including co-ed races.
“Our paddlers are more experienced this year,” says Ezzell, a senior in civil engineering from East Peoria, Ill.
Teams are also judged in design and presentation categories.
Ezzell says S&T’s 2009 canoe is being painted to look like an old wooden boat. “The texture is like wood paneling with fake nails in the boards,” he says.
Normal concrete used in a construction project weights 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.