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Idaho State University students compete in concrete canoe competition

April 8, 2016

POCATELLO—Idaho State University students involved with the civil engineering department designed, built and raced a concrete canoe in the 2016 Concrete Canoe National Competition April 7 – 9.

The American Society of Civil Engineering for the student chapter hosts the two-day competition, which will be held in Moscow this year. Idaho State University is competing in the Pacific Northwest Region against hundreds of national and international schools.  

Schools are not only ranked on how well they do in the race, but are ranked on their oral presentation, the mix design, a technical design paper and the display.

The winner of the competition receives a $5,000 scholarship, second place receives a $2,500 scholarship and third place receives a $1,500 scholarship. Each winner will also receive a trophy.

These students worked for nine months to get their canoe ready for the competition. They named their canoe “The Gateway,” in honor of Pocatello, “the Gateway City.” There are four main sections of building the canoe and one student is assigned to each section. Each section requires applying concepts learned from civil engineering classes to a hands-on activity.

Garrett Goldade is head of the mix design section. Concrete weighs 150 pounds per cubic feet. Goldade was able to get the concrete mix used for the boat down to a third of that weight – the mix for the canoe weighed in at 51 pounds.

Jesse Martin is in charge of the transportation section. He designed a way for the canoe to be transported 558 miles, a 10-hour trip by vehicle, safely all the way to Moscow from Pocatello.  Many schools have not been able to compete due to canoes breaking during transportation.

“The races are nerve racking because I have never really raced a canoe, let alone a canoe made from concrete,” Martin said. “We put so much time into it, it would be devastating for it to break.”

Chance Chavez is head of the structural analysis section. His job was to design the overall canoe and make sure it stays afloat.

“I am a bit nervous because I am in charge of the structural analysis portion so hopefully it doesn’t break,” Chavez said.

Patrick Brinton will analyze the hydraulics and design analysis after the competition. He will create a model to scale for next year’s team to inspect and base their canoe after.

Fourteen students traveled the conference to compete in different areas well. The two main competitions are the steel bridge competition and the concrete canoe race.