So, You Wanna Build A Concrete Boat , Eh? And Race It? Yeah, Right!

That’s a challenge that S&T’s Concrete Canoe team takes on each spring. The intrepid civil engineering students spend the fall semester raising money, buying materials and building a massive form from which a surprisingly delicate boat will eventually emerge, and if you think it can’t be done, you’re wrong.
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Under the watchful eye of “Lucky”, S&T’s 2008 boat, a pumped-up group of students carefully mixed, sprayed, dumped, and otherwise hand massaged layer-upon-layer of what looked like thick pancake batter on the sides and bottom of the mold, but kinda like building a dam, once you start you have to keep going.
Saturday’s pour had to factor in a new design element because event organizers decided to go “green” for 2010. Teams qualify for extra points by replacing gravel with recycled glass beads and plastic chips for the critical aggregate. Great idea, except for one tiny detail; the angular plastic pieces caused havoc with the critical spray system. No sooner than uberorganizer Matt Struemph made sure everyone synchronized their measuring, mixing, weighing and cleaning motions, the first spray gun (Plan A) jammed. No worries, have someone clean it and use the backup gun (Plan B). Same result. Repeat the process for an hour until stress-induced sweat becomes part of the slurry ,and then dust off long-forgotten Plan C*. Canoe2DSC_0153_2_2.jpg“Pitch the spray guns! Dump the stuff in there and start smoothing!” became the order of the day. It soon looked like a pizza joint on Super Bowl weekend as shoulder-to-shoulder workers applied the first