"Chapter History"


2015 will mark our 30th Anniversary!

The University of Alabama in Huntsville was founded in 1961 in response to Dr. Wernher von Braun's request to establish a training facility for his fellow scientists and engineers.  UAH has an enrollment of approximately 7400 with nearly 200 students enrolled in civil and environmental engineering. 

As an active member of Zone II, the Chapter regularly sends a delegation to the annual Student Leadership Conference.  We also participate in the annual ASCE Southeast Student Conference where 27 universities from Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and Puerto Rico are given the opportunity to compete in as many as 14 different civil engineering competitions. 

Shortly after our ASCE Student organization was formed in 1985, we participated in our first concrete canoe competition.  We finished last in regional competition with a 12-foot long boat that weighed 450 lb!  Since then, we have proudly represented the highly competitive Southeast Regional Conference thirteen times at the national level.  In our last nine appearances, we won the competition five times and placed second three times.  We remain the only school to have swept nationals by winning every event in 1994.

We have archived our performances from the beginning (1986-present), and our competition history is interesting and informative.  Alan Burr commented, in the December, 2003 issue of The Structural Engineer (article), that there is a really good chance that some of the cementitious composites that we are developing will replace standard aerospace composites and, as far as concrete canoeing is concerned, the Huntsville Times (article) says: "UAH can do it best.".  We have received Congressional funding to explore this possibility and have high hopes of using our concrete to support telescopes in space, for rocket fuselages, to build a lunar colony -- or for low-cost emergency shelters on Earth.

The Department of Defense has underwritten our efforts and we have used the U.S. Army's state-of-the-art, Remote Readiness Asset Prognostic and Diagnostic System (RRAPDS) to quantify the dynamic performance of our concrete canoes.  The Army is currently developing RRAPDS for missile/munitions health monitoring.  The system features wireless communication links and sensors that have been tailored for our use.

Our designs have been described on the front page of the MARKETPLACE section of the Wall Street Journal (article), and in Canoe and Kayak Racing News (article), the official publication of the U.S. Olympic Team.  Team UAH has proudly represented the Southeast sixteen times at the ASCE/MBT National Concrete Canoe Competition (official web site) and, in our last eleven appearances there, have won the competition five times and placed second three times.  Please feel free to listen to our audio introduction (.wav file) and check our current events page to learn more about what Team UAH is doing now.

We were invited to discuss our innovative design approach, construction techniques, and racing strategies at the 1999 ASCE National Convention (article), and the method for placing one of our concrete canoes was featured in Boys' Life Magazine (article).  Our adaptive reinforcement scenario and compliance based designs are no secret (article), and many of the national competitors have adopted them.  The technology underlying these advancements has been featured in periodicals ranging from Civil Engineering Magazine (article) and Experimental Techniques (article) to Space.com and Oldcastle News (article).  Human interest stories and commentaries have appeared in periodicals such as Paddler Magazine (article) and the Smithsonian (article).

So, whether you are just getting started building a concrete canoe, or want to be in the top five at the ASCE/MBT NCCC, you won't find a more comprehensive or informative source than Team UAH!

Our chapter was officially chartered in 1990.

We last revised our Constitution (114,527 bytes) on September 27, 2012; and have received nearly three hundred awards throughout our history.