UCSD concrete canoe bound for Hawaii

By Amber Hoffman

It’s sink or swim for the “Dow Jones,” a concrete canoe built by UCSD’s Society of Civil and Structural Engineers. A team of engineering students loaded the 300-pound concrete canoe into a crate by hand on March 19.

The crate was loaded into a truck headed to the port at Long Beach, from where it will be shipped to Hawaii.

UCSD engineering students will compete against 17 universities from the Pacific Southwest at the annual American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCI) collegiate conference at the University of Hawaii at Manoa on April 2 to 4. The canoe will be judged on its design and its comparative speed to other canoes.

The secret to making this 25-foot concrete canoe float is glass beads and tiny bits of Styrofoam. The canoe took a team of 25 engineering students about six months to build, from planning to construction.

Every year the ASCI releases a rulebook presenting the guidelines and challenging students to make concrete float. The rules change each year to help keep certain universities from dominating year after year.

If UCSD places first or second at the competition, they will be eligible to compete in nationals in Alabama.

“The team this year is fantastic,” UCSD engineering student and project manager Mark Galvan said. “Everyone has been so diligent in putting it together. I’m very proud.”

The students have not yet put the canoe in the water, but are confident it will float.

“We definitely made some huge improvements this year,” Galvan said. “We made it really lightweight.”

The competition will also feature other team-oriented events, including concrete bowling and Frisbee toss, steel bridge design and fabrication, and water purification and management.

Amber Hoffman is a student at Point Loma Nazarene University and an intern at The Light


Video courtesy of UCSD