Concrete Canoe Competition


Concrete Canoe

 What is Concrete Canoe?

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'll need in their careers. The event will challenge the knowledge, creativity and stamina of students, while showcasing the versatility and durability of concrete as a building material.

The 2017-2018 academic years will be our fifteenth year of competition.  Each year has been a learning experience, and we hope to keep improving as we have in past years.

What goes into making a canoe from concrete?

We have a complete in-house operation, where we design and construct our hull, as well as design a high strength, low weight mix.  The unit weight of concrete is around 150 pcf with an ultimate compressive stress between 1,500 psi and 10,000 psi.  Through many months of research and the use of new, sustainable materials, we were able to drop the unit weight down to 55 pcf while maintaining a 7-day compressive strength of 1500 psi. This concrete is lighter than the unit weight of water, 62.4 pcf, so that even if the canoe was fully submerged, it would still float!


The year of hard work culminates at the completion where we race the canoe against teams from eight other universities in the region.  The judging criteria are based on a formal design report which contains our research and design for the year, a presentation at the competition which describes the construction of the canoe, the overall final product which includes aesthetics, and the canoe races.  We were  extremely competitive in the 2016 Midwest Competition placing 3rd overall. The event was held in Ames, IA.