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Jessica Slavik, ASCE Concrete Canoe co-chair, (515) 296-0249
John Dostart, ASCE Concrete Canoe co-chair, (515) 268-4928
Dennis Smith, Engineering Communications, (515) 294-0267
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University's student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will participate in the Midwest Regional Concrete Canoe Competition, April 12-13, in Platteville, Wisc.

ISU's entry, christened "Fever," is 19.2 feet long, and weighs approximately 120 pounds. The compression strength of the canoe's concrete (a measure of its general strength) is similar to sidewalk concrete, about 2,100 psi, but utilizes special lightweight aggregates that allow the craft to float in water with no additional flotation in its hull.

"Concrete canoe design and building are what civil engineering students do when they're supposed to be studying," said Jessica Slavik, ISU's concrete canoe co-chair. "More time and effort go into preparing for the competition than most people realize."

The Platteville competition consists of a technical design paper, a display booth, an oral presentation, and five races, including men's and women's sprints, endurance/slalom races, and a coed sprint with two men and two women in the canoe.

ISU students built their first concrete canoe, the USS Ekberg, in 1973 for a competition at Purdue University. However, the canoe was not completed in time for the competition and instead debuted at ISU's VEISHEA festival the same year. The Ekberg, named for the department chair at the time, weighed approximately 400 pounds. Another student canoe, "A-CY-LUM," placed fourth in the 2001 regional competition held at Iowa State.

The regional competition is a qualifier for the 2002 National Concrete Canoe Competition, which will be held June 20-24 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, concurrent with a celebration of ASCE's 150th anniversary.


ISU's concrete canoe is housed in the Spangler Geotechnical Laboratory. Please contact one of the students involved in the project if you'd like to view it.

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