FSU Teams to Compete at National Concrete Canoe Competition

Monday, April 12, 2010

FSU's Concrete Canoe team has been named one of the "55 Good Things" about West Virginia by The State Journal. Click here to check out a news story by Karen Kiley of WBOY-TV.

Fairmont State University's American Society of Civil Engineers Student Chapter continues its tradition of excellence and will again represent the region at the National Concrete Canoe Competition.

FSU's ASCE Student Chapter won first place in the Concrete Canoe Competition for the seventh consecutive year at the Virginia's Conference, hosted by Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., on April 8-10. The conference brings together 13 schools from West Virginia, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and provides students a chance to gain valuable hands-on experience by competing in many engineering-related competitions.

The 23rd Annual ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition will be June 17-19, hosted by California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. FSU remains the only state university to be invited to compete at the national level. FSU has represented the region at the National Concrete Canoe Competition the last six years. In 2009, the team placed 17th overall in the nation and 10th in the final product category.

The 2010 FSU Concrete Canoe Team is led by Charlie French. Co-chairs are Tabitha Neuhauser and Brian Lake. Other team members are Stephanie Slaubaugh, Lauren Allan, Lindsay Menas, Justin Tennant, A.J. Fitzsimmons, John Lafferre and Matt Foltz. Members in training are Cole Dodd, Thomas Moss and Elana Slaughbaugh. The ASCE faculty advisor is Tia Como, P.E.

"I am extremely proud of the continued success of our concrete canoe team," Como said. "The team is looking forward to heading to California to the national competition in June, but we will need to raise about $8,000 to help defray travel costs for our students."

Those who would like to donate funds to help students travel to the event can make donations to the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. and indicate the donation is for the ASCE Student Chapter. Another way to help is to attend an upcoming benefit dinner celebration being planned for 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 7, at Westchester Village, 1825 Locust Ave., Fairmont.

The dinner event begins at 6 p.m. and will include music from the Davisson Brothers. Platinum sponsors will be invited to attend a special meet and greet VIP social hour from 5 to 6 p.m. Guests for the VIP social hour include the following: Paul Mattox, P.E., WV DOT Secretary of Transportation, WV DOH Commissioner; Larry Puccio, Gov. Joe Manchin's former Chief of Staff; Leonard (Joe) Timms, P.E., President-elect, NCEES; Mark Magro, St. Louis Rams football player, WVU graduate; Mike Lorelei, former Pittsburgh Steeler, WVU football staff member; Reed Williams, All American Linebacker, tentative; and Da'Sean Butler, WVU basketball star. Individual sponsorships are available at the following levels: Platinum, $100; Gold, $75; Silver, $50; FSU students and children ages 12 and younger, $20. Those ages 3 and younger are admitted for free. Corporate and local business sponsorships are available at the following levels: Platinum, $1,000, includes 10 guests and reserved table; Gold, $750-$999, includes eight guests and reserved table; Silver, $500-$749, includes six guests; Bronze, $250-$499, includes three guests. Those who would like to attend are asked to RSVP by Wednesday, May 5, by e-mailing Tia Como at Tiacomo@comcast.net.

The concrete canoe competition comprises four main categories which are equally weighted. These include a technical paper, an oral presentation, the product and display and five races. The students must follow strict rules that dictate what their concrete matrix can consist of and, of course, the boat must float, to be eligible for the races. A theme is selected and used at the team's discretion.

"The theme for the 2010 national entry is ‘The Privateer,' permitting many aesthetic options for the Pit Stop display. ‘The Privateer' is an underfunded underdog in the world of dirt bike racing, and most of the team's male members ride dirt bikes," Como said. "Not only did the theme fit their personal interests, but it also summarized the team's desire to win the competition as an underdog, in comparison to our national contenders who exceed our team in size and budget."

The FSU team created a strong, lightweight concrete matrix with a density of 52.3 pcf which resulted in a total weight of 210 pounds. The cement-like materials contained in the mix consisted of 50 percent Type I Portland cement and 50 percent VCAS Grade 160. Due to the low water to cement content of 0.4, the team also used admixtures in the mix design. Admixtures consisted of Glenium 2020 NS High Range Water Reducer, Euclid 92 Entraining and Rheomac VMA 358 Viscosity Modifying Admixture. The chosen aggregates were microballoons, post consumer recycled glass spheres and cenospheres. Epoxy coated carbon fiber (1 inch square grid) and carbon fiber mesh (3/16 inch square grid) reinforcing provided tensile and flexural strength along with a structural rib incorporated 10.25 feet from the bow. Overall, the boat length is 20 feet, with a width of 31.187 inches and an average ½ inch thickness. Compressive strengths range from 720psi for the black concrete and 1201 psi for the white. Integrally colored inlays along with acid and water-based stains were added to provide additional aesthetic appeal.

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 ASCE Student Chapter, call Tia Como, P.E., Professor, at (304) 367-4629 or e-mail her at tia.como@fairmontstate.edu.