Seen and heard on campus
National Concrete Canoe Competition
Did we say "concrete" canoe? Yes, it really can float— if you engineer it right!
Each year 6,000 civil engineering students on nearly 500 teams attempt to defy gravity by designing and building canoes made from concrete. Bragging rights go to those young engineers whose knowledge, skill, creativity and athletic stamina win the race at the National Concrete Canoe Competition.
2015 Concrete Canoe Competition
Watch highlights from the 2015 national competition hosted by Clemson University.
About Concrete Canoe
The National Concrete Canoe Competition provides students with a practical application of the engineering principles they learn in the classroom, along with important team and project management skills they will need in their careers.
The versatility and durability of concrete as a building material (and the fact that concrete usually sinks in water), challenges the students' design knowhow. While the teams only build one canoe, each of these races can require different strategies to win.
There are a number of races:
- sprint race
- endurance race
- men's race
- women's race
- co-ed race
The contest has points for:
- the canoe itself
- the paper explaining its design
- the quality of the team's presentation about their effort
- the race
Winners are determined by compiling the team's total number of points from the academic and race portions of the competition. Academic scholarships totaling $9,000 are awarded to the winning teams' undergraduate civil engineering program.
National Student Steel Bridge Competition
New bridges can revitalize a local economy and bring a community together. They are vital— and often beautiful— civil engineering projects. But why compete to build a scale model bridge out of only one material, steel?
Building a Steel Bridge Explained
Watch University of Louisville students explain the process
Why Bridges Matter
Hear Maria Gibbs, one of the new faces in civil engineering, explain the importance of bridges in society.
About the National Student Steel Bridge Competition
Throughout the country, ASCE student chapters conceptualize, design, and join together in competition to assemble their bridge with the goal of taking first prize at the National Student Steel Bridge Competition. The competition enables students to apply their knowledge of engineering to solve the challenges of real-world problems.
The annually updated rules of the competition reflect the real-life challenges of engineering bridges and are modeled after professional requests for proposals for engineering projects. Likewise, the scoring criteria challenges students to weigh the pros and cons of each decision as they design the bridge. For example, constructing a bridge with a fast build time, may favor your score for construction-time, but it may also compromise its durability.
As a result, there is no formulaic design process; the optimal bridge is also the most creative. Using one material in a scale model both heightens the challenge for students and keeps all the contestants on a level playing field.