The legend lives on from the Chippewa…of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee

shamrock1.jpgFAYETTEVILLE, ARK. — Well, Missouri S&T’s 2008 concrete canoe REALLY looks good (everybody says so), but the green-and-sand-colored vessel called "Shamrock" didn’t pass the "swamp test" today with flying colors. In fact, it stayed sunk like The Edmund Fitzgerald. The idea is to dunk the canoe in a big trough and see if it floats back up to the surface — this is a precautionary test to make sure the canoes don’t sink to the bottom of Lake Fayetteville tomorrow when the real racing events start. Missouri S&T will now have to equip Shamrock with extra styrofoam before hitting the lake.
swamped.jpgTeam members weren’t too disappointed, though, because their canoe floats just fine as long as it’s not full of water AND because the swamp test only counts for five percent of the overall judging AND because Mizzou’s canoe failed to resurface from the bottom of the trough, too, AND because, as one astute Miner pointed out, the canoes are made out of CONCRETE for crying out loud.
With much sadness we can report that the University of Arkansas has retired its Hogtanic canoe, which was such a big hit last year, especially when the monstrosity rolled over on its side and dumped its passengers during a particularly ill-fated outing. This year’s Arkansas entry is called 3 Sheets To The Wind, and it actually passed the swamp test.
fullyswamped.jpg The Missouri S&T team members say they enjoy the company of the Arkansas team but that the University of Oklahoma is probably the favorite in the competition. Oral presentations in front of judges are going on right now. We’ll be back at some point with updates and photos of Saturday’s racing action. The Missouri S&T team expects strong performances by its paddlers.
P.S. We probably won’t have new photos (of racing action) until we get back to Rolla some time on Monday. But we’ll try to give you a feel for the canoe racing stuff some time Saturday P.M. The results are appropriately fluid. Unless you’re in first, nobody really knows (or cares too much) where they stand in the overall standings. That’s why we love this concrete canoe thing; it’s pretty laid back and fun. Having said that, we really appreciate how much engineering work (and old-fashioned trial and error) goes into getting these things to the point where they’re actually seaworthy.

Whatever floats your boat!

What floats your boat? How ‘bout a desert-style racing vehicle in a lake? Dow Chemical’s generous donation of blue foam sheets becomes the building blocks of nearly every team project.

The concrete canoe builders use the water jet lab to cut out dozens of foam panels (above) that make up the mold against which the concrete is formed. Solar car uses the lightweight material to form the body on which the solar cells are mounted, the Advanced Aero Vehicle Group covers thin foam sections with Kevlar to form the plane’s ribs, the Formula SAE, Human Powered Vehicle, and Land Speed Challenge racing teams all use the rigid foam to mold their body panels, and the Baja team even used Dow’s product to build its highly successful flotation chambers for its amphibious off-road (get it?) race car. Thanks, Dow Chemical!!

Oh, the humanity!

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OK. This is the infamous Hog-tanic. Now, we shall never speak of this again.
P.S. The Advanced Aero Vehicle Group is getting ready to fly its ultra-cool remote-control aircraft in a competition this weekend in Texas. Watch this site to find out how much payload the UMR aircraft can carry. Also, we’ll try to get the obligatory photos of crashes.

One last look at Dangerous Curves cutting swiftly through the water (and not sinking)

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This is the very last post about concrete canoes, period, for a while. We promise. Unless you want to see a photo of The Hog-tanic going belly up? But that would probably be in poor taste. We want to keep the focus on all of the positive stuff that’s going on with the UMR design teams and we don’t really want to waste any more space on hilarious disasters from Arkansas like The Hog-tanic — unless, of course, you really want us to. Comments anyone?

This canoe didn’t sink

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Concrete canoe racing features men’s events, women’s events and co-ed events. Here are some of the women who competed for UMR last weekend. If anyone would like to identfy them, this would be a good time to try out the comments link below.
Important information: Normal concrete used in a construction project weighs about 150 pounds per cubic foot. For these canoes, lighter aggregate mixtures of concrete are used. In order to float, the concrete must weigh less than the unit weight of water, which is 62.4 pounds per cubic foot.

Down goes Mizzou!

mizzoucanoe.jpg During concrete canoe racing last weekend in Lawrence, Kan., Mizzou’s concrete canoe — it’s called Fluffy Fury or something like that — went down like Joe Frazier after a George Foreman right hook to the left jaw on a warm Jamaican night (1973). In other news, The Hog-tanic (Arkansas’ canoe) lived up to its billing. We can just hear the passengers on The Hog-tanic yelling "Woo pig sooie!" as she sank. The UMR team, meanwhile, managed to avoid getting wet for the most part and placed ahead of about half of the teams in the overall standings.
In the steel bridge competition, UMR’s team also managed to avoid disqualification and finished in the middle of the pack. Additionally, we can report that the KU bridge collapsed (possibly under the weight of its own sense of self-importance). Overall, it was a good weekend in Lawrence.
Disclaimer: Your humble UMR blogger attended K-State years ago and this may tend to render him something less than objective when it comes to other schools in what used to be the Big 8. When it comes to Arkansas, which wasn’t a member of the Big 8, it’s just fun to write "Woo pig sooie!"
P.S. We’ll post nice photos of the UMR canoe in the water tomorrow — men and women crew members.

Whatever floats your boat

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We’re checking on the final results from this past weekend’s steel bridge and concrete canoe competitions. We should be able to post that information later this afternoon (while neither team took first place, we think they both had good showings). For now, enjoy these concrete canoe photos. Above: UMR’s canoe gets swamped to determine its bouyancy. Below: UMR student Dave Weidinger goes over some design reports with a judge. NOTE: The name of UMR’s canoe has to do with its uniquely shaped hull. (Photos by Bob Phelan)
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UMR team not worried about Arkansas

Well, the UMR Concrete Canoe Team passed its swamp test today. After they dunked UMR’s canoe, the sucker popped right back up to the surface. Tomorrow, the concrete canoe races begin! This event, like the steel bridge contest, is taking place in Lawrence, Kan., only it’s taking place outdoors. All of the teams in the regional concrete canoe competition apparently passed the swamp test. But there are some very real concerns about the long-term floatability of the Arkansas entry, which is called "The Hog-tanic." UMR’s canoe is called "Dangerous Curves." Tune in Monday to find out if The Hog-tanic sunk. We’ll also have the UMR results.