Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cardboard Boats

STEM
Environmental & Science Education
by Edward Hessler


Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

The Milk Carton Boat Race at the Minneapolis Aquatennial is now a memory, a casualty of shortening the Aquatennial from two weeks to four days. Most of those boats used plastic milk cartons although some, "purists" one could say, used cardboard cartons.

A milk carton boat at the Aquatennial. [Michael Hicks, 2005] 

Cardboard boat races were alive and well at the University of New Brunswick—Fredericton, Canada this week. At the end of the semester, second year civil engineering students were challenged to float a boat constructed from cardboard and duct tape in a test of water worthiness. The competition was held in the Lady Beaverbrook swimming pool.

Professors Bruce Wilson and Katy Haralampides captained the boats.

No boat made it from one end of the pool to the other but some came close. One boat managed to float four students until "raucous behaviour" sank it (Now, this is hard to imagine.) About the boats Professor Haralampides said "Structurally—for the most part—they were okay. Overall they floated the whole way."

In a pool interview Haralampides listed some things students learned doing this project. "Teamwork skills, communication skills, analyzing, buoyancy calculations, stress and bending-moment calculations. It's also interactive and a lot of fun." A pretty decent list.

The article with a short video may be viewed here.

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