FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications (304) 696-7153
Marshall engineering students grab attention of other schools during competition at Virginias Conference
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – For centuries, canoes have been constructed using a variety of materials such as wood, aluminum and fiberglass. But recently, 28 Marshall University civil engineering students designed and constructed a vessel made of concrete and took home several honors as they competed with 14 other engineering schools in a series of unique engineering challenges.
It was all part of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Virginias Conference held this year at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., which featured a series of 11 competitions.
“This was the first time our students competed as an official member of the Virginias Conference and they grabbed the attention of all the other schools,” said Jeff Huffman, MU’s faculty adviser for the student chapter of SAME-ASCE (Society of American Military Engineering-American Society of Civil Engineers).
Members of the student chapter took first place in the concrete canoe final product and oral presentation categories and their canoe placed second overall.
The team earned another first place for aesthetics in steel bridge construction. It was awarded first place for fashioning a bowling ball out of discarded cigarette filters and left-over concrete from the canoe. Marshall placed third in the T-shirt competition with a design by student Rachel Hager that conceptualized the building of Marshall University’s engineering department.
In other competitions, students designed and built a recycled mini-golf hole using discarded trash that was provided to them, and others coagulated and flocculated duck pond water for quantity and quality evaluation in the environmental competition.
When asked by one of the competition judges how Marshall University’s chapter generated such large enthusiasm and participation among its students. Student member Eli McWhorter summed it up by saying, “Because we care.”
Work on the concrete canoe began in October 2011 with concrete mix designs and testing through January 2012. A total of 12 mix designs were tested before the final mix used in the canoe was obtained. Students also had to design and build a mold for casting the canoe along with a curing chamber which enclosed the canoe for 19 days before it was stained.
Marshall students competed in nine of the 11 categories offered.
Photo: Marshall University civil engineering students gather for a photo with a concrete canoe they designed and constructed. In a series of unique engineering challenges during the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Virginias Conference held this year at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., the students took home several honors, including first place in the concrete canoe final product and oral presentation categories. Photo courtesy of Marshall University.