Fall 2019

Float your boat

Courtesy of Tucker Johnson

Building a canoe out of concrete sounds like a bad idea—unless you’re an aspiring engineer in search of a challenge. 

Last spring, a team of engineering students at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) made a 265-pound, 18½-foot-long canoe from four layers of concrete (the secret: a lightweight concrete mix and plastic foam). They competed in the 2019 National Concrete Canoe Competition, which challenges engineering students to create concrete water-worthy vessels. The UMD team placed first in the racing category at regionals and 21st overall in nationals.

“There was some fierce competition,” says senior Tucker Johnson, a member of the team and recipient of the George C. Martin, Jr. Scholarship. “It was incredibly fun.”