ASCE Concrete Canoe Team Takes Top Prize

Monday, May 09, 2005

For the second consecutive year, the Fairmont State American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Club has won the concrete canoe competition as part of the regional Virginia’s Conference held on the campus of Virginia Polytechnical Institute in Blacksburg, Va.

The team won first place in all four categories of the concrete canoe competition, which included a technical paper, an oral presentation, the overall product and five canoe races. Team captains Patrick Guthrie and Gregory Wilson will lead their team in representing the region at the National Concrete Canoe Competition at Clemson University in June.

“Our ASCE Student club would like to thank all of their sponsors who assisted them with this year’s effort,” said Tia Richardson, the club’s faculty adviser. “These students have worked so hard this year and impressed all the schools at the regional competition. One judge stated, ‘Fairmont State has revolutionized the regional competition and has certainly raised the bar.’ I can’t express enough how proud I am of all these students.”

FS also received the following awards: first place in the Hardy Cross Oral Presentation went to Carla Jones; second place in concrete Frisbee competition; second place in the balsa wood bridge competition; and third place in the hydrotechnical competition. The Hardy Cross competition awards the first place winner with a $500 stipend and the opportunity to display the large silver cup for one year.

The team set before them a new challenge this year: to achieve consistency. The mix design requirements stipulated a C-33 aggregate gradation, and collectively these notions led to the theme of the of the 2005 concrete canoe named “Consistent-C-33.” The students’ goal was to maintain consistence throughout the entire process. The design team developed the right combination of lightweight materials to satisfy the gradation requirements, creating an optimal mix that would float. This combination consisted of ceramic spheres, perlite and micro-balloons, which produce a final matrix unit weight of 57.8 pcf. The completed product weighed 210 pounds, had an overall length of 20.67 feet, a width of 30.5 inches and a depth of 12.6 inches. The canoe was designed for faster speeds and better maneuverability.

In attendance at the conference from West Virginia were West Virginia University, WVU Institute of Technology, Bluefield State College and Fairmont State. The participating schools from Virginia included Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, Old Dominion and Virginia Military Institute. Catholic University of America from Washington, D.C., also participated.

The ASCE Student Club is also hosting a Summer Technical Conference, which will be held on Thursday, June 2, at the Fairmont Holiday Inn. The theme for this year’s conference is “Homeland Security and Natural Disasters,” and six professional development hours will be offered for those attending this event.

Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) represents more than 137,500 members of the civil engineering profession worldwide, and is America’s oldest national engineering society. ASCE’s vision is to position engineers as global leaders building a better quality of life.

For more information about Fairmont State’s club’s activities, call Tia Richardson, P.E., at (304) 367-4629 or e-mail her at