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On April 4, second-year engineering students filled the deck of the Sir Max Aitken pool, bringing with them the products of months of work: a fleet of cardboard boats.

Dr. Katy Haralampides, who teaches civil and geological engineering, began the cardboard boat race as a class project to teach students about the fundamentals of design.

Boats are built within a number of constraints, besides the use of cardboard as primary building material – one of which is that boats must have two points of contact with the water, as well as limits on duct tape use.

Despite working with similar constraints, boats came in all shapes and sizes.

Each boat made one pass the length of the pool. Boats were piloted by engineering professors, like Dr. Bruce Wilson.

After a boat completed one length of the pool, it was pulled from the water and the professor paddled a different boat back.

While the designs are part of the course, students were not graded on race results. However, the team of Dr. Bruce Wilson and Dr. Peter Bischoff were the fastest paddlers.

After the race, students tested the limits of their boats’ weight capacities, with no boat escaping the race unscathed.

While fun, the project has a very practical component, said Dr. Haralampides. It gives students experience with the design thought process and prepares them for large-scale projects later in their undergrad. Recent projects taken on by upper-year students have included the design of a new aquatics facility for UNB and planning a dam removal in Marysville.

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