Canoe made of concrete?!

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It is not surprising if a building, a bridge or some other structure is made of concrete. But the concrete canoe competition sound much more amazing.

It is hard to imagine, that building a ship or any other buoyant device can be made of concrete. Even so in the beginning of this summer the 5th Hungarian Concrete Canoe Cup was organized in Budapest with the help of the BME Faculty of Civil Engineering. And the BME Navis Caemanticia team won the bronze medal.









Mentioning concrete canoe recall film memories, where the legs of the victim are put info a concrete block to make her or him sink in the water. From here concrete canoe is quite far. It is not well-known, but J. L. Lambot made a ferro-concrete boat in 1848. And later there were freighters and warships made of ferro-concrete. One well-known example was USS Selma, which was made with 7500 tons net weight around 1919. But using concrete this way is usual today too, there are many ferro-concrete yachts.

The concrete canoe competitions are also have longer past in abroad. In Hungary the Concrete Canoe Cup started five years ago. The championship is a competition for university and construction company teams in building and paddling a concrete canoe. The BME Faculty of Civil Engineering have been taking part in organizing the competition from the very beginning and we also have a racing team every year. We are very happy because of the growing interest year after year. In 2016 we had 16 competing teams. It's a special honour that we had a team transporting their canoe from Kolozsvár to the Kopaszi gát (Kopaszi Dam), Budapest, the place of the championship.









The jury have several viewpoints to assign rankings. In every race there are 2-2 persons in the built concrete canoes. This year we had four different races: first men’s race, second women’s race, third one team member with an Olympian, and fourth is a race with turning in and of the racetrack and get back to the grid. The last race was very difficult, because if the fragile concrete canoes crash, they can easily break and sink. The professional jury regarded not only the race results, but the weight and appearance of the canoes.

This is why competitors have to make serious design and material development and optimization to have the lightest, most beautiful canoe with the best flow properties and adequate capacity. This year we directly focused on the interior painting of our canoe, which had a huge audience success.

Further details of the 5 Concrete Canoe Cups are here.

You can find the report of our team here.

Written by: Olivér Czoboly PhD student and Prof. Balázs L. György, patron, BME Depratment of Construction Materials and Technologies