Cal Poly wins engineering contest with canoe made of concrete and toilets

What’s made of concrete and floats?

nwilson@thetribunenews.comJune 24, 2011 

For the second year in a row, a Cal Poly team of student engineers won a prestigious competition, involving the construction of a concrete canoe, against colleges from the U.S. and Canada.

Cal Poly edged out 22 other colleges June 18 to win the America’s Cup of Civil Engineering. The Mustangs team designed a 208-pound, ocean-themed canoe made of concrete and recycled toilets.

The 24th annual event hosted this year by the University of Evansville in Indiana, required an oral presentation, written report, aesthetic design and sprint and endurance races. Last year, Cal Poly hosted the event and also took first place.

The event is designed to test students’ creativity in building and their athletic stamina while showcasing the versatility and durability of concrete as a building material.

Competition rules this year required the use of a second aggregate and included a strong focus on sustainability.

Cal Poly students decided to use recycled, crushed porcelain from white toilets in part to match the boat’s white concrete and produce a smooth finish. By doing so, students saved porcelain from going into a landfill, university officials said.

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