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Clarkson University's Concrete Canoe Team Takes Fourth Place in Regional Competition

Clarkson University's Concrete Canoe Team recently took fourth place in competition at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Upstate New York Regional Student Conference at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The team is part of the University's Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design (SPEED) program.

Teams designed and built a boat out of concrete. Each team designed its own hull and concrete mix to keep the concrete density as close to the density of water as possible. In order to achieve this decreased density, rocks and sand were removed and replaced with polystyrene beads and hollow glass spheres to make the concrete light enough to float. This left the concrete very weak in tension, so reinforcement such as steel or fiberglass mesh was used to accommodate the tensile stresses applied to the canoe.

The event included men's, women's and coed sprint races and a men's and women's distance race. The Clarkson team placed 4th in the men's slalom or endurance race as well as in the men's sprint race. The team finished 5th in the co-ed sprint race and 4th place overall. In addition, the teams presented orally and submitted a display and technical paper to the judges.

The Clarkson concrete canoe team members are Alex Brown, a junior civil engineering major from Glens Falls, N.Y.; Ben Brown-Steiner, a senior environmental engineering major from East Rochester, N.Y.; Ben Dates, a sophomore civil engineering major from Martville, N.Y.; Ryan Doyle, a sophomore civil engineering major from St. Albans, Vt. ; David Grant, a senior aeronautical engineering major from Saranac Lake, N.Y.; Max Martin, a senior civil and environmental engineering major from Saranac Lake, N.Y.; Matt Strawser, a junior environmental engineering major from Dunkirk, N.Y.; Mike Tucker, a senior mechanical engineering from Gabriels, N.Y.; Dan Zielinski, a sophomore mechanical engineering from Hilton, N.Y.; Christine Benetti, a junior civil engineering major from Cranston, R.I.; Katie Jones, senior civil engineering major from Groton, N.Y.; Alicia Shelvay, a freshman civil and mechanical engineering major from Buffalo, N.Y.; and Natasha Coon, a freshman civil engineering major from Tully, N.Y. Their advisors are Narayanan Neithalath, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Robert J. Davis, director of the SPEED program.

Clarkson University crosses the boundaries of disciplines, nations and cultures in order for discovery, engineering innovation and enterprise to come together. As a result, faculty and graduates grasp the full impact of their calling, direct their research to the world's pressing issues and lead with confidence and distinction. One in seven alumni is already a CEO or other senior executive. Located in Potsdam, N.Y., just outside the six-million-acre Adirondack Park, Clarkson is home to 3,000 students preparing for rewarding careers through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, science, and health sciences, as well as unparalleled outdoor recreation and life experiences beyond the classroom.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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