Overall length of boat:
Net weight of canoe:
Specific weight: 45
Elastic modulus: 100 ksi
Symmetrically positioned, spatially separated
layers of material having a high elastic modulus (graphite, steel,
Welcome to the best kept secret on the web! Your competitors don't want you
to be here because they know that knowledge is power, and power comes
from knowing details. So why are we giving you this information?
Partly, it's because we've won $32,500 in prize money from Master
Builders and feel obligated to give something back. If you've
reviewed our competition history, you already know how the exposure helped us
get the resources that we so
desperately needed from our administration to secure accreditation for
our program in 1989, and departmentalize in 1991. Besides, our major competitors know a lot of this
But, the publicity helps us back at UAH and gives us a chance to make new friends throughout the world, making it
even more fun for us when we compete.
You should know that the veterans of this competition have their own ideas about what it takes to
win but some of them are somewhat reluctant to divulge them. We
are too to some degree. But we have decided to assume the role of an aggressive innovator... planning to raise the bar
even more next year, always keeping one step ahead of the pack. At
least, we hope to.
Who knows, this section may help you to squeeze
between us and one of the big guns at nationals. In that case, we may be thanking you for
giving us the edge that it takes to stay on top. Don't worry
you use this information to beat us at our own game, we'll give you the
ovation that you deserve. All we
ask in return is that you reference the material; and, when you win, look over your shoulder, give us a nod, and
say thanks! Good
luck and enjoy your stay with Team UAH.
Hot Tips: Before we
begin, we would like to invite you to contact us for help and/or further
information. More importantly, if you have a hot tip to add to our
site, we'll post a one line summary here, give you credit, and provide
a link to the web site where you place the information. If you
don't have a web site available, we'll post it for you. Take, for example:
Hot Tip No 1. (Team
reinforcement uniformly in the composite section without
using permanent spacers."
Hot Tip No 2. (Team
UAH): "Predicting your
Hot Tip No 3. (Team
UAH): "Tensile test
Hot Tip No 4. (Team
UAH): "Testing your
reinforcement for compliance."
Getting started: OK, so you
want to build a concrete canoe, beat your Regional competitors, and take
a shot at winning the national title. If you're like most of us,
you've got a copy of the rules, and are are pretty
overwhelmed. So, what now?
Start by reading the article
written by us on competition strategy and review the most recent top
national design reports (PDF Downloads).
Look at the tips that we presented at the 1999 ASCE
national convention (Power
Point Presentation; you must have the package installed on your
machine), and review the articles (using the links embedded in the text on our
home page) to read more about how to build your boat. You may also
want to look at our competition history to see
what you're getting yourself into. The more you know about us and
the competition, the more advantage you have.
A few of the parameters that you will need to consider come
next. The last slide in this section is the most important of all,
since these are the schools that you must beat to win the national
In general, the longer the boat, the higher the hull speed. There
is a point (22.5 ft or so), however, where the parasitic drag becomes so high that
it defeats the women's team and makes the boat very difficult to
maneuver. Most of the boats that are competitive at nationals
range in length between 19 and 22 feet. The following graph shows
how our length has changed through the years. A length of 21.5
ft is suggested.
In general, the lighter your boat the better. There
is a point (75 lb or so), however, where the momentum associated with
the movement of the men's team overwhelms that of the boat. Their
higher center of gravity coupled with a more aggressive style rocks and
pitches the canoe, and this energy is lost. Because a lighter boat
sits higher in the water, the women's team will also have trouble
controlling it in high winds and rough water. The following graph
shows how the weight of our canoe has changed through the years.
By building a 23 ft long boat that weighed 49 lb in 1998, we are the only school
who can claim to have pressed the design envelopes too far in both
length and weight.
Remember, this is net weight and does not account for the weight of
your paddlers. If it can be achieved, a net weight of 75 lb is
Specific Weight of Concrete:
In general, the lighter the mix, the better; since, a lighter concrete
gives you more design flexibility. But other factors must be
considered, such as the modulus and the strength.
A lightweight concrete usually has low strength, so make sure that
it is compliant (E ~ 100 ksi). That's right, we mean 100
ksi! So, become familiar with polymer enhanced concrete.
The following graph shows how the specific weight of our concrete has
changed through the years. A specific weight of 45 lb/ft3 is
In general, the stronger the better. The following graph shows how
the compressive strength of our mix has changed through the years.
We should point out, however, that concrete compressive strength is
not a critical design parameter if your build your canoe with adaptive
reinforcement. Since cracks can not be tolerated and the
compressive strength of the mix is always higher than the tensile
strength, the latter is much more important. A tensile strength of
approximately 150 psi will do if you use adaptive reinforcement and compliant
As shown in the chart below, there have only been seven schools to win
the national concrete canoe competition. Four schools have won
more than once; UAH has won five times, Berkeley four times, Clemson
three times, and the University of Wisconsin in Madison twice. Know your competition,
and check their websites often.
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