News: UA engineering students <br> hope to 'sink' competitors

Civil engineering students to showcase talent at regional competition at UA


The members of the 2010 UA Concrete Canoe Team (foreground) edged past the competition to place first in the regional competition and ninth at nationals.

The build-it-and-they-will-come philosophy comes with a twist this year at The University of Akron, where many of the region's top engineering students will come to build it.

Students from 15 local colleges and universities will compete in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Ohio Valley Student Conference hosted this year by UA where they will build and design concrete canoes, steel bridges, water treatment centers, AutoCAD designs and more at the April 14-16 competition.

Schools from three states to compete

Students from UA, Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati State Technical College, Cleveland State University, University of Dayton, Ohio University, Stark State College, Youngstown State University, University of Kentucky, Geneva College, Western Kentucky University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh and University of Louisville will compete in seven different civil engineering categories.

The steel bridge teams will design and fabricate 1/10 models (about 20 feet long) of a steel bridge. This year’s design of a cantilevered-style steel bridge challenges students in construction speed and economy, lightness, stiffness, structural efficiency and overall performance and, as a tie breaker, aesthetics. The UA Steel Bridge Team placed first in this regional competition for the past two years and fifth in the 2010 national competition.

Practical experience

To learn more about the student chapters of engineering organizations, visit Beyond the Classroom.

The concrete canoe competition challenges students to design a lightweight, concrete watercraft focused on the theme, sustainability. Once teams design their concrete, each construct a 20-foot canoe following required specifications. Teams are judged on a technical paper, oral presentation, aesthetics, various races and canoe durability. Last year, UA’s Concrete Canoe Team placed first in the regional competition and ninth at nationals.

The environmental competition challenges students to demonstrate a treatment process that creatively and sustainably treats a “real” drinking water source by reducing the water’s elevated manganese levels and turbidity.

Contests planned to test range of skills

Meanwhile, teams in the surveying competition will demonstrate their proficiency with land surveying techniques after they are presented with a proposed construction site plan showing the detailed location of various building elements.

Students in the AutoCAD competition will creatively design a fast-food restaurant site sketch, working with property limits, a building footprint, dumpster and menu board layouts. In another contest, the balsa wood bridge competition, teams will create a bridge, preferably truss or beam, that follows design specifications.

Finally, students will compete in an ethics paper contest focused on the topic “Ethics and the ASCE Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.”

For more information visit the OVSC website. For other inquires, sponsorship opportunities or general information, contact Sarah Sullivan at

Media contact: Denise Henry, 330-972-6477 or