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Concrete Canoe

canoeASCEThe ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition (NCCC) 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 event challenges the students' knowledge, creativity and stamina, while showcasing the versatility and durability of concrete as a building material.


 canoemoldThe teams begin the design of the hull and the concrete mix in September. The concrete mix is designed using admixtures that allow the unit weight to be lighter than that of water. In order to qualify for competition, the canoe must be able to float after being completely submerged in water. The main criteria are to design a mix with appropriate workability that is lighter than the unit weight of water and strong enough to withstand the stresses induced on the canoe during the competition. The compressive strength of the concrete must be high enough to withstand the weight of four people with a hull thickness of less than one-half inch. Developing the proper mix to ensure a durable and buoyant canoe is perhaps the most challenging part of the competition*.

Watch SPSU Men's Sprint Concrete Canoe Race 2012 Here:


The competition has spsucanoefour main categories. These are finished product, oral presentation, technical paper, and canoe races. The finished product is judged on aesthetic appeal, finishing techniques, and durability. A technical paper six pages long must be submitted to the judges prior to the competition. An oral presentation of the paper is scheduled for the day of the competition, followed by questions from a panel of judges. The real-life application and durability of the canoe is tested as the teams compete in five races. These include both male and female sprint and distance races, as well as a co-ed sprint. A combination of the team’s scores in each of the four categories determines the final ranking of the team in the competition*.

spsucanoelogoConcrete Canoe team was first recognized in 1991 at SPSU. The team had a concrete canoe considered to be quickest, slipperiest canoe made of “that gray stuff” to have hit the water.




stingerSTINGER, Southern Polytechnic State University’s 2012 canoe, was approximately 250 pounds, 16’-4” long, and 2”-71/2” wide.  STINGER’s weight was drastically decreased from the previous years.  STINGER had two layers of Geogrid reinforcement and special concrete mix design. Compression, split tension, and flexure tests were performed on test cylinders and cube specimens. Preparations for this year’s canoe has already been started. After several trials, concrete mix design is almost complete, and mold construction process is going to start soon.

Please click here to go to ASCE OrgSync Club Page.



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* Assessing the Impact of the Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge Competitions on Civil Engineering Technology Students By Valerie L. Sirianni, et. al. Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition