Overall length of boat:
Net weight of canoe:
Two Layers of Un-impregnated Graphite Separated
by Balsa Wood Strands
1st at Nationals
South Dakota SM&T
Rapid City, SD
P: Alison Symes
VP: Shana Hooth
S: Jennie McGee
T: Jonathan Carr
Dr. John Gilbert
Mr. Bob Dieterich
Mr. Tim Barnett
Mr. John Martin
Mr. Greg Laue
Mr. Jon Coign
Mr. Phil Gentry
Ms. Kay Bradburn
We used balsa wood strands to separate two layers of an unimpregnated graphite fiber mesh, and produced the lightest and longest concrete canoe in history.
The boat won best product at nationals which helped us to win our fourth national title.
Our boat was 23' long and weighed 49 lbs. The concrete (35
lb/ft3; 510 psi) had an elastic modulus of 22 ksi.
Our goal was to produce the
lightest, longest, and fastest concrete canoe in history. We
turned up the heat in Rapid City with "Rapid Fire."
We built a 23í long,
49 lb canoe by placing concrete over two layers of graphite mesh
separated by balsa wood strands.
We empirically tuned and
verified our analytical work, and adopted the strategy that, "One
test is worth 1,000 expert opinions!".
The cold and shallow
water in Rapid City slowed the boat down, allowing Clemson to win the
races, but we scored enough points to win out fourth national
Alumni Notes: The regional
representatives that moved forward in the concrete canoe and steel
bridge competitions had done very well the year before and it was
apparent that the better the regional competitions were run, the better
chance that we would do well at the advanced level. Since FIT and
UAH finished first and second at nationals, respectively, the regional
competition ended up becoming a fight for second place. After it
was apparent that we could not be beaten, FIT and the University of
Florida pulled out all the stops in an effort to qualify for the national
competition. To their credit, FIT squeezed out the second spot,
a very slim margin.
The national competition was run very well in Rapid City. Some
schools received point deductions for rule violations, but only after
they were given the opportunity to defend their positions.
not taken water temperature and depth into account when designing "Rapid
Fire," and Clemson's boat was much more suited to the cold and
shallow water. They could not be beaten on the lake, and ended up
as only the third school in the history of the competition to sweep all five
races. Clemson's 3CT (Clemson's Concrete Canoe
Team) finished third overall. But, had it not been
for point deductions, they would have finished a very close second.
During a practice session on the day
before the races, a crack developed in the critical section located
directly below the front paddler. After practicing seven days a
week for eight months and winning a spot in competition with his fellow
team members, Chapter president, Jon Coign, relinquished the bow
position in the slalom/long distance race to a fellow paddler who was 40
pounds lighter. Dr. Gilbert felt that the damaged structure was
sufficiently robust to take Jonís weight but when he expressed this
view to Jon in private, Jon said that he had made an executive decision
that was not debatable. Jon's unselfish action prevented further
damage to our canoe, allowing us to win the best product
category. As a result, Dr. Gilbert
nominated Jon for the UAH Distinguished Leader Award which he
subsequently received from the Office of Student Affairs.
According to the UAH tradition established in 1993, president-elect
Greg Laue led the team to the podium to pick up our first place
trophy. Greg filled it with champagne and passed it around the
According to the ASCE media coverage report, totals for print,
television, and radio coverage reached an estimated 119 million
readers/audience. Remarkably, we had tied Berkeley's record of four national
wins. We were now on the verge of realizing Dr. Gilbert's vow, made in 1988, to beat
UCB more times than they had beaten us.
Back to Competition History