Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Concrete Canoe Competition Comes To Cookeville

Concrete canoes and steel bridges will float and rise when Tennessee Tech University's civil engineering department hosts the annual American Society of Civil Engineers Southeastern Student Conference next month.  The student-organized event is scheduled for March 24th through the 26th and will have more than 1,000 students representing 27 schools from around the world. The competitions will be held throughout campus on that Friday and Cane Creek Park on the Saturday of the event -- which is free and open to the public.

"We want people to know who we are and what civil engineers do," said Lindsay Bryant, concrete canoe team member. "We also want people to see what a wonderful town Cookeville is."

The concrete canoe competition provides students with a practical application of the engineering principles they learn in the classroom, along with important team and project management skills they will need in their careers. The event challenges the students' knowledge, creativity and stamina, while showcasing the versatility and durability of concrete as a building material. The project is worked on during two semesters and will be judged on four components: visual, written, presentation and the race at Cane Creek Park.

"We want to show people that engineering isn't just math and science," said Tim Harrell, steel bridge team member.

The steel bridge competition is a real world project where team members create a bridge with materials given to them. The teams this year will be challenged to build their bridge with the capability to go over a flood plain. They will be judged on the time it takes them to build and create the bridge, how much weight can be deflected, and aesthetics. Students will also have a chance to gain extra points by making the bridge lighter in weight. Last year Tech placed fifth in the ASSC competitions.