Cal Poly Pomona’s concrete canoe team finished in the top third at the national competition, hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Held at the University of Nevada, Reno, students from 22 of the top engineering universities came together to present their designs and race in five men’s, women’s and co-ed slalom, endurance and sprint races from June 14 to 16.
Forty Cal Poly Pomona civil engineering students designed a canoe, named “Andromeda,” that finished seventh overall and earned fifth place in final product and paddling sections, as well as a special innovation award for its unique injection molding system. The dual-mold created a precise thickness for the canoe’s body, making it easier to sand.
“This is the first time we’ve placed in the top five in three of the four competition elements,” says Professor William Kitch, team advisor. “I’m very proud of how the team built on our success over the past three years and won the innovation award.”
It seems contradictory that a heavy material could float, but the team incorporated lightweight materials into the concrete instead of the traditional heavy rocks, making it less dense than water.
“This is the same principle of how an ice cube can float,” says team captain Gabe Moorman.
The next regional competition is not until March 2013, but the team will be busy this summer. Incoming captain Steven Saleh is already preparing a schedule for the season to improve the concrete mix and hull designs, as well as raise funds to cover competition expenses.
The Cal Poly Pomona concrete canoe team has participated in the ASCE national competition since 1993, competed in the finals six times and placed in the top 10 teams on five occasions. Last year, the team placed fourth, the best finish in university history.
(Photo: The concrete canoe team at the regional competition at Bonelli Park on March 23.)