Sustainable design leads to another 1st place concrete canoe win

Fourth victory for NYU-Poly team; project utilized new materials, techniques.

2009 Winning Concrete Canoe Team

Polytechnic Institute of NYU’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) took first place in the Metropolitan Regional Concrete Canoe Competition for the second year in a row during the first weekend of April.  NYU-Poly hosted the event, which it has now won four times in its history of competing.

“This year’s team had 3 main focuses,” says Minelly De Coo, co-captain along with Kaliaeja Taylor. “We wanted to continue with the tradition of sustainable design [last year’s canoe was built with recycled materials] while maintaining aesthetics and reducing the weight of the canoe. When it came to sustainability, the team wanted to not only work with recycled materials but also to include renewable materials as well as extend sustainable practices throughout all aspects of the project.”

Prior to construction, the team researched new materials that would increase the recycled and renewable contents of the “mix” -- the recipe for the concrete. The team created various mixes to test workability and strength.

“The first couple of batches were not successful due to a new reinforcement that we used,” said Ms. Do Coo. “After we became more familiar with the material we were able to make a mix that was both stronger and lighter than previous years, and we were then ready for pour day.”

The team placed an 80% recycled Styrofoam mold between wooden cross sections that they plotted and cut in accordance to ASCE regulations, and covered it with a plastic film. On pour day they sandwiched layers of high-strength concrete, reinforcement, and lightweight concrete. To complete the canoe, the team cured the entire structure, removed the wood and Styrofoam, sanded and polished it, and added graphic finishes, including the canoe’s name: “Fusion.”

Next up for the victorious Fusion team is the National Concrete Canoe Competition in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in mid-June. “We will be competing against 22 top universities nationwide and we hope to come in the top 5,” says Ms. De Coo. “Next year’s team captains are excited to continue the tradition of sustainable design. They are looking for better materials and ways to make our canoe out of 100% recycled content while creating a beautiful canoe.”

Canoe Paddling Team: Consuelo Aranda, Peter Boshra, Minelly De Coo, De Gao, Charles Longsworth, Lirdi Mexhitaj, Shivani Patel, Phil Pachacz, Kaliaeja Taylor, and Stephanie Weldon.

Other Key Members: Dr. Weihua Jin, Gina Masullo, Ceyda Asik, Eric Prantil, Roy Hou, Yating Zhou, Noel Aglubat, Luis Rosado, Antonio Yip, Vanessa Galvez, Douglas Chin, Kimberly Lo, Argenis Villanueva, Avi Jaikaran, and Brian Buckleman.