The American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter at Colorado School of Mines sent 46 students to the Rocky Mountain Regional Student Conference in Rapid City, South Dakota, to compete in concrete canoe, steel bridge and mystery design April 6-7.
Despite challenging weather conditions, Mines students made a strong showing in both the team and individual events.
The Mines concrete canoe team earned first for presentation, second for technical paper and placed fourth overall out of eleven teams that competed – in spite of the fact that their canoe had broken in transit to Rapid City.
The competition involves building a concrete canoe within strict regulations – restrictions on length and width and the ability to pass a flotation test are just a few of the rules. The teams also must develop a display that is both creative and informative and prepare a design report that details the concrete mix used for their canoe. Teams are also judged on how well their canoes perform when raced. Due to inclement weather this year, however, teams were unable to race.
"I am really pleased with our results considering the damage done to our canoe during transportation," said Madison Papell, a senior in civil engineering who led the Capstone Design team. "We were the only team without a whole canoe and we still placed higher than most teams."
The team will be building a new canoe to compete at the National Concrete Canoe Competition this June in San Diego.
The Mines steel bridge team, headed by Jamie States, a senior majoring in civil engineering, for Capstone Design, earned first for display, third for stiffness and fourth overall.
The competition involves the complete design and manufacture of a steel bridge. The team score has several components, including display, which involves the appearance of the bridge and its quality of fabrication, as well as the bridge's ability to be constructed quickly. Bridges are also judged on their lightness, stiffness, construction economy and structural efficiency.
"I am proud of our hard work," States said. "We represented the Mines community well and hope that we can give future teams the resources to do even better."
In addition to the two team events, there were four individual events – mystery design, technical and non-technical paper and pre-engineering design.
The mystery design competition required students to think on their feet to produce a usable product in a limited amount of time. Lindsey Whittington, a junior majoring in civil engineering, and Caleb Dotten, a sophomore majoring in civil engineering, both competed in the event, with Dotten's design earning him second place.
Brittany Bender, a senior in civil engineering, won first place for presentation and fourth place overall for her technical paper on the deterioration of concrete. Matthew Kouba, a sophomore in civil engineering, presented his non-technical paper on the ethics of social media and engineering, earning him third place for presentation.