Category Archives: Anything That Floats

2015 Anything That Floats Competition

Update, 3:35 p.m., June 17: We’ve had to cancel Anything That Floats this year. Please contact Allyn West at 713-348-5668 or allynwest AT rice.edu with questions.

Update: The fifth annual Anything That Floats competition has been rescheduled for Saturday, June 27, 2015. It will be held in Downtown Houston at Sesquicentennial Park on Buffalo Bayou from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The competition is organized by rdAGENTS, the Rice Design Alliance young professionals group. Read More

Anything That Floats 2014


What: Fourth Annual Anything That Floats Competition
When: April 12, 2014, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Sesquicentennial Promenade on Buffalo Bayou

Oh buoyancy! This year’s Anything That Floats competition will be held at the Sesquicentennial Promenade on April 12, 2014, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The competition is organized by rdAGENTS, the Rice Design Alliance young professionals group. Teams of two to five people are invited to spend the morning constructing their craft, on the spot, out of provided discarded and donated building materials and their own tools. Two members of each team must then test the seaworthiness of their DIY device in a race for time across Buffalo Bayou.

Each year, Anything That Floats teams are challenged with a new and different set of materials, which are revealed to them only at the beginning of the event. To compete, registration will be $25 for RDA members and $35 for non-members.

Attending the race is free and open to the public.

Download the registration form!

Anything That Floats . . . Finally!

The third annual Anything That Floats competition took place Saturday, June 22 at Sesquicentennial Park after being rescheduled from May 4, Kentucky Derby Day. Still, seven teams came out to Race for the Roses in their boats created from discarded building materials. The teams wrangled with the materials that were generously donated by J.E. Dunn, Chamberlin Roofing + Waterproofing and Gilbane. Two guest judges, KHOU 11 New’s Katherine Whaley and Chamberlin’s Doug Combes, scrutinized the boats’ materials and deliberated over the winners. The winning crew, Nathan McCormick, Roni Garrett, Claire Janak, John Graca and Patrick Noble, received the coveted captain’s wheel. Their actual race time tied with Mark Danna and Mark Smith, but the challenges to reduce seconds helped them win by a head!

Thank you to the coverage from the Houston Chronicle (pre and post), Great Day Houston, CultureMap and KHOU!

Anything That Floats 2013: June 22

Whoever said that the “most exciting two minutes in sports” was the Kentucky Derby has not been to Anything That Floats! This year will be derby-themed, so if you’re coming to watch wear your best derby gear. As a team member, you may also participate this year in a jockey costume contest for extra points!

Anything That Floats challenges participants to build a device to float a short distance along Buffalo Bayou with discarded building materials provided the day-of by RDA. The competition is open to all! You don’t have to be a designer.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 22, 2013 at 8a.

What: Anything That Floats hosted by rdAGENTS

When: Saturday, June 22, 2013

7:30-8:00: Teams arrive and unload materials along Preston St. between Smith St. and the bayou.
8:00-11:00: Build
11:30-1:30: Float, followed by Judging and Awards

Please click here for rules and items allowed.

Team sizes are limited to 5 people per team.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided by RDA.

Where: Sesquicentennial Park along Buffalo Bayou

RDA Member Ticket Prices:$25

Non-RDA Member Prices: $35

To register, please fill out and fax or email this application to mbwoiccak@rice.edu.

Teams will be allowed to unload materials at Sesquicentennial Park along Preston Street between 7:30 and 8:00am in between Smith St. and the bayou. Vehicles will be allowed back after 1:00 p.m. to pick up materials.

Parking can be found underground in front of the Wortham Theatre.

Anything That Floats 2012!

The second annual Anything That Floats competition, which took place April 28 at Sesquicentennial Park, brought out eight enthusiastic teams ready to float the bayou with their innovative—and often amusing—designs.

This year RDA provided a different set of materials unbeknownst to team members who were challenged to construct a float to cross Buffalo Bayou. Teams received PVC piping with caps, one 4”x 8” piece of insulation board, one piece of roofing membrane, and two 6” pieces of 2”x 6” wood, all generously donated by Gowan, Inc., Chamberlin Roofing and Waterproofing, and JE Dunn Construction. Teams were rewarded with time deductions for building a Captain’s wheel and a functioning rudder. The team with the fastest time won the race.

After gathering at the park at 7:30 a.m., teams excitedly launched into drafting plans, building, and experimenting with materials. Using only one roll of tape, nails, and battery-operated tools and saws, team members got creative with how to adjoin their materials. After three hours of build-time, teams brought their floats down to the water and lined up to start the race. As crowds watched and cheered along the promenade, teams took turns placing their floats in the water, with two team members paddling as quickly as they could back and forth across the bayou.

Floats were assessed namely for speed and the results were close, with a mere one second standing between first and second places. The Grand Prize went to Mark Smith and Mark Danna, with second place going to Amy Hufnagel, Rachel Calafell, Mark Hoffman, and Eric Heumann with Walter P Moore. The “Best Sinker” prize was given to David Johnson, Alex Beck, Alex Noons, Ellen Vaughan, and Devan Mendez whose float, unfortunately, made it one way but not the other across the bayou. “Most Versatile” float was given the Gensler team of Meredith Epley, Jonathan LaRocca, Sean Thackston, and Adam Williams. Awards were distributed along with pizza and ice cream sandwiches. Each team received a “Certificate of Buoyancy” for participating.

Second Annual Anything That Floats

Anything That Floats challenges participants to build a device to float a short distance along Buffalo Bayou with discarded building materials provided the day-of by RDA. The competition is open to all!

What: Anything That Floats hosted by rdAGENTS

When: April 28, 2012

7:30-8:00: Teams arrive and unload materials along Preston St. between Smith St. and the bayou.
8:00-11:00: Build
11:30-1:30: Float, followed by Judging and Awards

Breakfast and lunch will be provided by RDA.

Where: Sesquicentennial Park along Buffalo Bayou

RDA Member Ticket Prices:$20

Non-RDA Member Prices: $25

To register, please fill out and fax or email this form to katie.plocheck@rice.edu.

A special thank you to our sponsors: Gowan, Inc., Chamberlin Roofing and Waterproofing, and JE Dunn Construction.

Rules:

• Maximum of twelve teams allowed for competition
• Maximum of 5 team members per team.
• No building will be allowed prior to event start time.
• Teams are only allowed to use materials provided by competition.
• Teams may use connection materials and tools in provided list.
• No power will be provided.
• Minimum of 2 people on the float
• Water aids will be in the bayou along course to help
• Team members on float are allowed paddles provided by RDA only.
• Team members may not use banks of bayou for propulsion.
• Team members outside of float may not propel float in any way.
• Water will be provided for teams.
• No alcoholic beverages allowed during competition
• Life preservers provided by RDA must be worn at all times in the water

Team members may bring:

Non-power tools, such as saws, hammers or battery-operated tools (there will no electricity at the site).
Tape (one standard-sized roll only, 180 ft)
Rubber bands
String
Nails or other connection materials

Parking:

Teams will be allowed to unload materials at Sesquicentennial Park along Preston Street between 7:30 and 8:00am in between Smith St. and the bayou. Vehicles will be allowed back after 1:00 p.m. to pick up materials.

Parking can be found underground in front of the Wortham Theatre.

More details on rules and judging criteria coming soon!

What makes something float?

Buoyancy, or the force pushing upward on an object in a fluid, is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object. The relationship between buoyancy and the weight of the displaced fluid is called Archimedes’ Principle.

Objects submerged in fluid appear to weigh less than they do out of the fluid. This is caused when the force at the bottom of an object in a fluid is greater than the force at the top of the object. The overall force is in the upward direction and acts against the downward weight of the object. The upward force is called the buoyant force.

So why do some objects float and some objects sink? The answer lies in the object’s density. Density is the relationship between an object’s volume and its mass. An object will float in a fluid if the density of that object is less than the density of the fluid.

Air also plays a role in whether some objects sink or float. A heavy steel ship is built of a steel shell with a hollow inside. So the volume of the ship is made up mostly of air. The ship and air together have a density that is less than that of water. They can displace a weight of water equal to or greater than their weight. As the boat displaces the water, the water pushes upward against the boat. These forces together cause the boat to stay afloat.

The cargo on a boat also becomes a factor. If a boat is loaded with too much cargo, it will have a higher density and will ride lower in the water because it has to displace more water to stay afloat.

Floating, Sinking, and Boatloads of Fun

Ray + Hollington Team Members paddle the 100 feet distance to the finish line

rdAGENTS hosted its first annual Anything That Floats competition April 9, drawing seven teams consisting of architects, engineers, graduate students, and even high school students. The event, which challenged participants to build floating devices from discarded materials, took place along Buffalo Bayou at downtown’s Sesquicentennial Park.

Competing teams gathered at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, unaware of what materials they would receive to build their respective floats. Each team was allotted two 10’ lengths of 3-4” PVC pipe, two 4’ lengths of 3-4” PVC pipe, one 4’x8’ sheet of 2” foam insulation, two 3’x4’ sheets of ½” plywood, and one 6’x8’ sheet of waterproofing sheeting, all generously donated by J.E. Dunn, Gowan, Inc., and Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing. Teams, which each consisted of a maximum of five people, could bring hammers, nails, duct tape, battery-operated power tools, and any other “connecting” materials to construct their floating devices within a three-hour time frame.

Once the three-hour time was up, teams brought their floats down to the banks of the bayou where they chose two team members to paddle 100 feet to the finish line. With adrenaline racing, each team excitedly took their turn, paddling as quickly as they could amid minimal bouts of water-logging and high-energy crowd-cheering.

After the judges (rdAGENTS’ steering committee) deliberated and lunch was served by the Good Dog Hot Dogs truck, awards were distributed. Each team received a “Certificate of Buoyancy” and certain teams were recognized based on other criteria. The “Bayou Beauty” award was given to Jeff Talbott, Jose Aguilar, Jeanette Dicorcia, Hugh Yildrim, and Giang Phan for having the most aesthetically pleasing float. As the only team whose boat flipped, Rainard High School’s Alex Beck, Ellen Vaughan, Devan Mendez, and David Johnson were given the “Best Sinker” award along with floaties, as homage to their valiant effort of swimming their boat across the finish line. Rainard High’s other team, which included John Cramerus, Leighton Moreland, Micah McClimans, Daniel Rasi, and Robert Mendez took home the Grand Prize for speed with their unique aero-dynamic design.

Anything That Floats

Anything That Floats challenges participants to build a device to float a short distance along Buffalo Bayou with discarded building materials provided the day-of by RDA.

What: Anything That Floats hosted by rdAGENTS, followed Bayou Buddies’ Bayou Bash from 1- 4p.m., where participants can enjoy live music, pontoon boat rides, crawfish, and libations.

When: April 9, 2011

7:30-8:00: Teams arrive and unload materials along Preston St. between Smith St. and the bayou.
8:00-11:00: Build
11:30-1:30: Float, followed by Judging and Awards

Breakfast and lunch will be provided by RDA.

Bayou Bash begins at 1:00 p.m.

Where: Sesquicentennial Park along Buffalo Bayou

RDA Member Ticket Prices:

Anything That Floats only: $20
Anything That Floats + Bayou Bash: $35

Non-RDA Member Prices:

Anything That Floats only: $25
Anything That Floats + Bayou Bash: $40

To purchase tickets and register for the event, click here.

Parking:

Teams will be allowed to unload materials at Sesquicentennial Park along Preston Street between 7:30 and 8:00am in between Smith St. and the bayou. Vehicles will be allowed back after 1:00 p.m. to pick up materials.

Parking can be found underground in front of the Wortham Theatre.

Float Course:
Course will run downstream on Buffalo Bayou for approx. 100 feet

Team members may bring:

Non-power tools, such as saws, hammers or battery-operated tools (there will no electricity at the site).
Tape
Rubber bands
Nails or other

Judging Criteria:

Float must carry two people the entire distance. Any float considered for an award must complete the course with at least ½ of the float above water. If no float completes the course, judging will be based on longest distance traveled. Other criteria that will be considered for judging are:
• Innovation
• Creativity
• Floating solution that requires the least amount of materials

Rules:

• Maximum of ten teams allowed for competition
• Maximum of 5 team members per team.
• No building will be allowed prior to event start time.
• Teams are only allowed to use materials provided by competition.
• Teams may use connection materials and tools in provided list.
• No power will be provided.
• Minimum of 2 people on the float
• Water aids will be in the bayou along course to help
• Team members on float are allowed paddles provided by RDA only.
• Team members may not use banks of bayou for propulsion.
• Team members outside of float may not propel float in any way.
• Water will be provided for teams.
• No alcoholic beverages allowed during competition
• Life preservers provided by RDA must be worn at all times in the water

RDA would like to thank Gowan, Inc., Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing, and J.E. Dunn for donating materials.

What makes something float?

Buoyancy, or the force pushing upward on an object in a fluid, is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object. The relationship between buoyancy and the weight of the displaced fluid is called Archimedes’ Principle.

Objects submerged in fluid appear to weigh less than they do out of the fluid. This is caused when the force at the bottom of an object in a fluid is greater than the force at the top of the object. The overall force is in the upward direction and acts against the downward weight of the object. The upward force is called the buoyant force.

So why do some objects float and some objects sink? The answer lies in the object’s density. Density is the relationship between an object’s volume and its mass. An object will float in a fluid if the density of that object is less than the density of the fluid.

Air also plays a role in whether some objects sink or float. A heavy steel ship is built of a steel shell with a hollow inside. So the volume of the ship is made up mostly of air. The ship and air together have a density that is less than that of water. They can displace a weight of water equal to or greater than their weight. As the boat displaces the water, the water pushes upward against the boat. These forces together cause the boat to stay afloat.

The cargo on a boat also becomes a factor. If a boat is loaded with too much cargo, it will have a higher density and will ride lower in the water because it has to displace more water to stay afloat.

Anything That Floats

What: Anything That Floats is a competition put on by rdAGENTS that challenges participants to build a device to float a short distance in Buffalo Bayou. All building materials will be provided, including PVC pipes, waterproofing membrane, and plywood. With a maximum of 10 participants allowed per team, team members can bring non-power tools, tape, etc. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. After the competition, participants are invited to attend the Bayou Bash.

When: Saturday, April 9
7:30a- Teams arrive and unload tools (along Preston Street at Sesquicentennial Park)
8:00a-11:00a- Build
11:30a-1:30p: Float, followed by Judging and Awards
Bayou Bash begins at 1:00p

Where: Sesquicentennial Park, Downtown Houston

Ticket info:

rdAGENT Ticket Prices:

Anything That Floats only: $20
Anything That Floats + Bayou Bash: $35

Non-rdAGENT Ticket Prices:

Anything That Floats only: $25
Anything That Floats + Bayou Bash: $40

What makes something float?

Buoyancy, or the force pushing upward on an object in a fluid, is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object. The relationship between buoyancy and the weight of the displaced fluid is called Archimedes’ Principle.

Objects submerged in fluid appear to weigh less than they do out of the fluid. This is caused when the force at the bottom of an object in a fluid is greater than the force at the top of the object. The overall force is in the upward direction and acts against the downward weight of the object. The upward force is called the buoyant force.

So why do some objects float and some objects sink? The answer lies in the object’s density. Density is the relationship between an object’s volume and its mass. An object will float in a fluid if the density of that object is less than the density of the fluid.

Air also plays a role in whether some objects sink or float. A heavy steel ship is built of a steel shell with a hollow inside. So the volume of the ship is made up mostly of air. The ship and air together have a density that is less than that of water. They can displace a weight of water equal to or greater than their weight. As the boat displaces the water, the water pushes upward against the boat. These forces together cause the boat to stay afloat.

The cargo on a boat also becomes a factor. If a boat is loaded with too much cargo, it will have a higher density and will ride lower in the water because it has to displace more water to stay afloat.