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Civil Engineering Students Place Third at Concrete Competition

Matthew Watters and Kaisha Plambeck display their pervious concrete

Matthew Watters and Kaisha Plambeck display their pervious concrete

The team of civil engineering students Kaisha Plambeck & Matthew Watters placed third at the 2013 American Concrete Institute’s Pervious Concrete Cylinder Competition┬áin Phoenix on Oct. 20.

Plambeck, a senior, & Watters, a junior Honors College student, placed third in the Cylinder Performance Category. The students won $250 & will be featured in a future publication of Concrete International Magazine. Plambeck & Watters, along with faculty advisor Frances Griffith, competed against 31 teams from across the world.

“We are excited about our students’ success at the ACI competition,” said Kevin Hall, head of the department of civil engineering. “Both Kaisha & Matthew are terrific ambassadors for our program & the university. Our students & faculty leaders, Frances Griffith & Micah Hale, have made a positive & lasting impact at the American Concrete Institute.”

The students made a cylinder of pervious concrete, which is unlike traditional concrete because it has voids which allow water to pass through into the soil below the concrete. This helps reduce stormwater runoff & prevents flash flooding & erosion because the water does not stay above ground. Pervious concrete is mostly used for flat surfaces & pavements like parking lots & trails.

Plambeck & Watters began designing their pervious concrete mixture in August & tested several mixes before choosing one to take to competition. The students developed four mixtures of concrete using several elements including rock, cement, fly ash, water, & a chemical ad-mixture.

Watters said the initial mix designs didn’t turn out as expected, but he & his teammate overcame the challenge.

“It was a learning experience about how you handle something when things go wrong,” Griffith said.

Along with the concrete cylinder, students were required to turn in a paper explaining their design.

At the conference, the students also attended sessions, talked to professionals from the concrete industry, networked with potential employers & met students from around the world. Watters plans to attend the next ACI Convention, which will take place in the spring of 2014 in Reno, Nev. For that competition, students will design & construct a fiber-reinforce concrete bowling ball.




(Article featured in the University of Arkansas Newswire, Thursday, November 7, 2013)