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The winning canoe is named “Van Gogh” and weighs 178 lbs. and is 19’4” long. The engineering students that created this winning canoe won in the following categories: Overall, oral presentation, final product, men's and women's endurance and sprint races, plus the co-ed sprint race. The project itself involves constructing a full-scale concrete canoe, composing a written technical document, presenting the project to a panel of experts, and racing canoes against other universities across the country.

Concrete Warships

Building ships made of concrete dates back to World War I, when there was a shortage of steel for ship building. Concrete was used to build the ship hulls, as well as fishing boats, tug boats and floating barges. By the early 1940s, World War II had again created a shortage of steel, and concrete technology was vastly improved. A fleet of 24 lighter and stronger ships – all made of concrete – joined the war effort. Seven are still afloat today.

Concrete can float on water, if it is lighter than water. If it is shaped like a boat - a hollowed-out object - it will displace a volume of water greater than the actual volume of solid material of which it’s made. The ship will be buoyant. This concept dates back to Greek mathematician Archimedes, who discovered that objects have the ability to float when immersed in water if the buoyancy of the object is greater than the weight of the object.

“Portland” cement – invented by Joseph Aspdin in early 1800s England - is what is usually used in concrete today, and a key ingredient. According to Wikipedia, “concrete is a substance that is made out of paste and aggregates. The paste is a composition of gravel, sand or cement combined with water. The cement and aggregate mixture turns into concrete through the process of hydration.” The Romans invented what we now call hydraulic cement-based concrete.

Clearly, Cal-Poly’s winning concrete canoe is nothing like the old warships built for combat a century ago. And it’s safe to assume that the engineering students that compete in this annual event have access to quality milling machines, hot wire cutters, power saws, power sanders and other equipment. After all, a successful project requires the proper tools for the job. Ace Cutting Equipment & Supply, Inc. is your one-stop shopping source for superior concrete cutting equipment and Diamond tools. Visit out our website: or call today, 888-283-2597.