Merrimack College Canoe and Steel Bridge Teams show their stuff
Merrimack College competed in this year’s American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) steel bridge and concrete canoe regional competitions on April 26 and 27 at the University of Lowell’s Tsongas Center in Lowell and at Bare Hill Pond in Harvard, respectively. The events were part of the 2014 New England ASCE Student Conference. Joining Merrimack College were 18 collegiate teams from across the Northeastern United States and Canada.
This is Merrimack’s first competitive canoe entry in more than a decade. It held its own. Laval University from Québec City took home the top honors in the concrete canoe competition. UMass Lowell placed second and Northeastern University third.
In the steel bridge competition, MIT won first place, followed by the University of Connecticut and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Merrimack College came in fourth place.
Lighter Than Water?
In the concrete canoe competition, students raced their self-designed and built canoes on the water. To qualify for racing, the canoes had to pass a “swamp” test in which the boats were filled with water and pushed below the surface; they must resurface on their own. The entries were graded based on the quality of the product, its engineering design, presentation and aesthetics as well as the race results. This year’s Merrimack College concrete canoe team members are: Ryan Benoit, Team Captain), Alex Juliano, Ryan Boutin, Jared Peterson, Jeff Ziske, (ASCE student chapter presiden-elect),Sean Krause, Kristen Page, Tiana Dame, Jordan Bedard, Marcus Swedberg, and Doug Therrien, Civil Engineering laboratory technician. Dr. James Kaklamanos is the Chapter advisor.
The Steel Bridge Challenge
The steel bridge competition, sponsored by the ASCE and the American Institute of Steel Construction, challenged students to design and fabricate a scale model of a steel bridge according to the specifications in the contest’s rule-book, and then construct the model on-site during the competition. The bridges were judged based on construction speed and economy, lightness, stiffness and structural efficiency as well as overall performance and poster presentation.
The same individuals listed above also comprised this year’s steel bridge team.Our bridge was able to support the 2,500 pounds of load placed on it during the competition and competed well enough to place fourth overall. An impressive accomplishment, given the relative small size of the Merrimack Program and fewer resources provided to the team. Dr. Marc Veletzos served as the team advisor.
Competing against top universities in the Northeast demonstrates the high quality of Merrimack’s civil engineering program and to showcase the quality and tenacity of our students. It was also a fun and exciting way to meet with and talk to fellow engineering students from surrounding schools.”
These two projects are a terrific hands-on, real-world experience — something that students cannot experience in a classroom setting.