UA student from Jemison participates in canoe, bridge competitions

Published 10:13 pm Friday, March 27, 2009

TUSCALOOSA — Rolling pins are often associated with baking, however University of Alabama engineering students are taking them out of the kitchen and into the garage to make an ultra-sleek, floating concrete canoe. And, when they are not cooking up concrete mixtures, you can find them also constructing a steel deck bridge with the ability to support 2,500 pounds.

UA civil engineering students plan to debut these creations at the American Society of Civil Engineers 2009 Southeast Student Conference concrete canoe and steel bridge competitions held at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, March 26-28.

Chase Gamble, a senior from Jemison, is one of the students participating in the event.

Teams competing in the inter-collegiate steel bridge competition had one chance, Friday, March 27, to erect a deck bridge spanning 20 feet that supports a load of 2,500 pounds. The students will be judged on deflection, weight and construction economy.

Since the fall semester, students have been preparing for the competition by creating construction drawings and designing the bridge.

The canoe is made up of a special mixture of concrete that allows for floatation. The mixture consists of recycled glass bead, K1 glass spheres, Type I Portland cement, Metakolin, super plasticizer and water reducers.

After the concrete is rolled out using the pins, it’s placed upon the mold and dried. The canoe is then sanded and taken off the mold. Aesthetics, including the name of the canoe and the University, are added last.

The concrete canoe team will be judged on the presentation of the canoe, appearance, race performance and a technical paper.