The Concrete Canoe hull design team is responsible for designing the actual shape of the canoe. Each year, we attempt to design the “optimal” canoe, given the constraints of the competition.
The design process consists of several stages. First the team must decide on a rough geometry; how long will the canoe be? how wide? how deep? Decisions made here will affect the rest of the team, especially the paddlers who will ultimately be the ones racing the canoe. While a wider canoe may be more stable, for example, it will experience more resistance in the water, so it is important to understand the priorities of the paddling team.
Second, it is necessary to model the canoe. This model is usually created using 3D computer aided design (CAD) software, and it serves as a basis for the analyses of the canoe that will follow.
Third, we use computer software to analyse the efficiency and safety of the canoe. This includes structural analysis by finite elements (FEA) to determine the stresses the canoe will experience in the water, as well as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to calculate the drag the canoe will face during races. This information is then used to revise the original design to improve performance within a reasonable factor of safety.
Finally, the hull design team must translate the computer model of the canoe hull into a physical mould on which the canoe will be cast. The prepared 3D model is used to instruct a milling machine which forms the pieces of Styrofoam that will make up the body of the mould.
Hull design for the University of Toronto Concrete Canoe team is a comprehensive process; from initial concept to final product, we are dedicated to creating a top-performing canoe, and equally importantly, to having fun along the way!