Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Concrete Frisbees

I recently had the opportunity to volunteer to make concrete Frisbees at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo as an outreach to local students. The purpose of the event is to introduce young people to the Civil Engineering profession. The event was run by the Society of Civil Engineers student chapter, also known as the winners of the past two Robert Ridgeway Awards, in conjunction with the local branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Essentially the students run the events and the professionals help out where they can. I’ve been told winning the Robert Ridgeway Award consecutively is the equivalent of winning two national championships in a row.  Unfortunately it doesn’t get the same press as football.

The event was fun and educational. It started out with Professor Fiegel, a previous instructor of mine, leading the group in some activities to get us going. The picture below shows him in action along with a concrete canoe on the stand.


After the warmup the group went inside with an informative presentation on the important questions regarding concrete, who, what, when, where, why and how.


After the presentation we went to work helping the local students making concrete Frisbees. The students put together the dry mixes while the members of SCE mixed together the dry ingredients. It was interesting to see how the different batches turned out. If you want to make your own concrete Frisbees some of the proportions used may be found on the chalkboard.


To start the students cut out reinforcing consisting of fibrous fabric. Forms for the Frisbees consisted of what else, slightly oiled Frisbees.


Once the forms, dry ingredients, wet ingredients, and reinforcing were ready it was time to mix the concrete up in the Kitchenaide mixers.


Safety first of course, gloves, eyeglasses and dust masks where worn during the mixing.


Next up putting the concrete mix into the forms.


Once complete the concrete Frisbees were placed within the curing room.


The students will come back June 17 to participate in a Frisbee golf event using the newly created Frisbees. In addition they'll be able to check out the top concrete canoes from throughout the country as the winning schools from regional events descend into San Luis Obispo for the National Concrete Canoe competition.

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