Launch Slideshow

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Testing the Waters

Testing the Waters

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    Students from the University of Nevada, Reno, (2008 champions) and California Polytechnic State University displayed their canoes at World of Concrete this year.

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    California Polytechnic State University's team used recycled glass bottles, crushed by hand, as an aggregate in its 2008 canoe (shown in cross-section).

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Polytechnic University's team collected glass and ground it by hand for fine aggregate. Many used Siscorspheres, a lightweight aggregate made from recycled post-consumer glass. “Some teams had the foresight to use sustainable practices before it was even required,” says Ping Wei, ASCE's director of educational activities.

In 2009, the CNCCC has prescribed a standard hull design so students can focus more on the concrete. Each team is limited to using 400 lb/cu yds of cement, forcing them to use supplementary materials. The aggregates must also include at least 25% recycled materials. Vessels at this spring's regionals include recycled tires and cenospheres made from fly ash.

“The students benefit from cutting edge research,” says Candace Sulzbach, ASCE faculty advisor at the Colorado School of Mines. “We have no mix design course, so these students learn firsthand about the latest in SCC, while others aren't exposed to it at all.”

The competition involves more than canoes. Half of a team's score is based on a technical design paper and oral presentation explaining the planning, development, testing, and construction.

“They emerge as leaders, and companies seek them out for jobs,” says Sulzbach. The research and testing also flows back to the industry. Teams share their results and accomplishments with their corporate sponsors, giving the engineering and concrete communities a return on their investments.

The 22nd annual national competition takes place at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, June 11-13.

For more, visit www.asce.org.