A Great Finish for the Concrete Canoe in Reno

A team of Youngstown State University students finished in the top 10 at the 25th annual National Concrete Canoe Competition in Reno, Nev.

The YSU team finished ninth, ahead of schools such as University of California Berkeley, Clemson University, Oregon State and Rutgers. California Polytechnic State University finished first.

The YSU team consisted of students Nathan Knapp (project manager) of Warren, Joe Reedy of Austintown, Samantha Rovnak of Austintown, Allison McMillen of East Palestine, Mike Kaldy of Brookfield, Kim Klonowski of Canton, Mich., Justin Ambrosio of Cortland and Sentel Rodgers of Youngstown. The team’s advisor was Adam DePizzo.

“We were very happy and proud to compete with the best engineering schools in the nation and finish in the top 10,” Knapp said. “With this accomplishment, YSU is clearly one of the top engineering schools in the nation.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers sponsors the three-day competition. Throughout the year, teams of civil engineering students from across the country and Canada research design and construct canoes made out of concrete. After coming out on top in regional competitions throughout the spring, the best and brightest from 22 top engineering schools matched wits and skills in the national finals.

The competition is comprised of both academic and athletic events. Students write a paper detailing the design and construction of their canoe and then give an oral presentation. They are also judged on their final product, the canoe, and their accompanying display, which further explains their design process. Finally, they put their canoe through the paces in a series of five race events—men’s and women’s slalom/endurance races and men’s, women’s and co-ed sprint races.

For more information on the competition, including photos, race results and event details, visit http://www.asce.org/concretecanoe.

YSU Engineering Students Win Award in Fracking Wastewater Treatment Competition

Youngstown State University (YSU) Civil Engineering students placed third out of ten universities in an Environmental Design Competition held at the University of Pittsburgh on March 31. The contest was part of the annual American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Ohio Valley Student Conference. Other universities participating included the University of Kentucky, University of Pittsburgh, University of Akron, Cleveland State University, Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, and Ohio University.

The main goal of the competition was to remove barium and turbidity from wastewater generated by hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) of shale for natural gas wells. The YSU team added simple household chemicals – Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) – to precipitate barium sulfate and neutralize pH, then passed the water through a sand filter to remove turbidity. Their design removed 93% of barium and 98% of turbidity from the wastewater. Their treatment performance score tied them for first place in this category with the University of Kentucky.

Research on the treatment method was performed by Darshan Baral, a graduate student in Civil Engineering. In laboratory studies, Darshan was able to achieve 99.9% removal of barium. The treatment apparatus was prepared and operated by Tom Bowser and Sentel Rodgers, both seniors majoring in Civil Engineering. The students were advised by Drs. Scott Martin (Civil Engineering) and Felicia Armstrong (Environmental Studies).

YSU Engineering Students Win Concrete Canoe Competition

Youngstown State University’s Concrete Canoe team dominated their regional competition at the University of Pittsburgh on March 30, placing first in four out of five races. The team also won first place awards for best design paper and best finished product, and placed first overall in the competition. They qualified to participate in the National Concrete Canoe Competition to be held June 15-16 at the University of Nevada, Reno. Nathan Knapp, a senior in civil engineering, is the concrete canoe team captain.

The competition was part of the annual American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Ohio Valley Student Conference, attended by civil engineering students from thirteen universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, Akron, Cleveland State, Carnegie Mellon, Ohio State, Ohio University, Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, Louisville, and Western Kentucky. The YSU students also placed second in the steel bridge building competition, earning an invitation to the National Student Steel Bridge Building Competition to be held May 24-26 at Clemson University in South Carolina. Dan Phillips, a civil engineering graduate student, is the steel bridge team captain.

In other conference events, the YSU Environmental Design team placed third out of ten teams in a contest requiring the removal of barium from hydraulic fracturing wastewater, and third place in the balsa wood bridge competition. Fourteen YSU engineering students attended the conference, along with faculty advisor, Dr. Scott Martin, and practitioner advisor, Adam DePizzo.

CUTC Meeting and Outstanding Student Awards Dinner

Washington, D.C. was the destination of YSU’s Center for Transportation and Materials Engineering (CTME) Director, Joann Esenwein, and awards winner, Matthew Coppage, this past weekend, Jan. 21 – 22, 2012.

Matt, a senior in Civil Engineering, was selected for this award based on his ability to work with a team as well as individually, focusing on his leadership and problem solving skills. He has worked on various transportation-related research projects including the Center’s outreach programs and has assisted with various lab assignments. An active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)  student chapter, Matt participated in Contractor for a Day.

The Council of University Transportation Centers was established in 1979 by major transportation research centers and institutes in the United States and provides a forum for Universities and Centers to interact collectively with government and industry. Currently, there are over 130 academic institutions involved in membership representing the nation’s leading university-based transportation research and education programs whose members work to advance the state of the art in all modes and disciplines of transportation.

STEM College students Begin Work on Concrete Canoe

Students from the STEM College begin work on the annual concrete canoe competition hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Nathan Knapp, the team’s captain, said, “I want to expand my knowledge of the overall concrete canoe competition and pass my experiences to underclassmen. I hope to represent Youngstown State University at the national level.”

Nathan is a senior Civil Engineering student who has worked on the canoe project in the past. His team of eight other students includes Sammie Rovnak, Joe Reedy, Allison McMillen, Kim Klonowski, Mike Kaldy, Sentel Rodgers, Chris Jones, and Dan Phillips. They are working on the initial mix design first by using last year’s formula and improving it to be lighter and less dense. The team is performing a structural analysis to make sure the thickness of their hull design can withhold the pressure. The hull of the canoe can be no more than 22 feet long and 36 inches wide so the students are working to make sure the mix can withstand those dimensions and remain light for optimal racing agility.

The next step is to finish the mold. The cross sections for the mold are cut, and the team will pour the concrete on “place day” in December. Then, it will be sanded down, and a drywall compound will be applied to compliment the finish. Graphics and aesthetics will then be applied, and the students hope to have enough time to practice with it in the water.

The regional competition will take place on March 29-31, 2012 at the University of Pittsburgh where they will compete against other universities across the country and Canada. Schools that have competed in the past include Akron University, Western Kentucky, Ohio State University and Ohio University. The team must prepare a design paper and will also be judged on an oral presentation and the aesthetics of the canoe. Then, they will race it. Last year’s team placed second, and if they win this year, they will advance to nationals held in Nevada. For more information on the competition, visit www.asce.org.

Dr. Scott Martin of Mechanical Engineering is the faculty advisor on the project. He said, “Working on projects like the concrete canoe provides a real opportunity for engineering students to enhance their professional skills. They improve their understanding of the things they learned in their Civil Engineering courses, and also develop communication, teamwork, project management, and time management skills. On top of all that, they have a lot of fun, and gain confidence that they can compete with engineering students from anywhere.”