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What floats these boats? Concrete

Friday - 6/28/2013, 2:34pm  ET

Members of the The University of Texas at Tyler concrete canoe team carry part their entry after it split during a race in theNational Concrete Canoe Competition in Homer, Ill., Saturday, June 22, 2013. The American Society of Civil Engineers National Concrete Canoe Competition is held annually in June to provides students with a practical application of the engineering principles they learn in the classroom, along with important team and project management skills they will need in their careers. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

HOMER, Ill. (AP) -- Does concrete float? For the hundreds of civil engineering students at the annual National Concrete Canoe Competition, the answer is "yes."

Teams representing 23 schools vied last week to design, build and race canoes made of concrete. Some vessels were as long as 22 feet and weighed as much as 180 pounds. A wooden canoe of the same size weighs about 40 pounds.

Alicia Welling, manager of the California Polytechnic State University team, says the trick to making concrete float is to mix it with glass bubbles and other lightweight objects.

Welling says the three-day American Society of Civil Engineers event gives students practical experience in finding creative engineering solutions and working as part of a team.

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