April 09, 2009

SIUC hosts steel bridge-concrete canoe contest

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE -- We’ve all seen bridges made of steel…but canoes made of concrete?

That’s what competitors in a unique engineering competition will try to accomplish, as Southern Illinois University Carbondale plays host to students from across the country.

The SIUC student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers is holding the annual Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe Competition. The event is set for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 16-18, on the SIUC campus. The events are free and open to the public.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover events at the annual Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe Competition at SIUC. For more information, contact William Eichfeld, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, at 618/453-7838.

Members of the professional society from 12 colleges and universities will compete in the events, which will test engineering skills, creativity and teamwork. The event’s theme this year is “going green,” and it will feature biodegradable plates, forks, spoons and other items. Organizers also plan a technical paper competition on sustainable engineering and other events, including volleyball and surveying competitions

Along with SIUC, colleges and universities scheduled to compete include other top engineering programs from around the Midwest. Those are Kansas State University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, University of Arkansas, University of Kansas, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Missouri Kansas City, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Oklahoma.

The Steel Bridge Competition starts at 9 a.m. Thursday, April 16, at the Student Recreation Center, and will last until about 6 p.m. Teams must design and build steel bridges while following certain rules and meeting specifications. The timed event will require skill and teamwork. After completion, judges will test the bridges for stiffness, strength, deflection and other characteristics.

The Concrete Canoe Competition judging is set for 9:45 a.m. April 17 it the Engineering Building courtyard. To build such a canoe, teams must experiment with different types of concrete mixes and designs. Judges will rate canoes based on appearance, aesthetic qualities, speed and other characteristics. The team members will have previously built their canoes and will bring them to SIUC for the contest.

Finally, the concrete canoe races are set for 9:30 a.m. on April 18 on campus lake.

Winning teams will take home trophies.