2019 Oliver Coulson Memorial Student Competition

Oliver Coulson Memorial Student Competition
Oliver was a president of the ACI Missouri Chapter and was avid competitor in the ACI competitions while he was a student. This competition is to honor his contribution to the concrete industry.

Cube Strength Competition - October 12, 2019

The purpose of this competition is to develop a mortar which will have a load at failure for each sample of 48,000 pounds for a 2 x 2 x 2 in. cube.


  • The team which obtains the lowest score wins the competition. The 1st place team will receive $400, the 2nd place team $300, the 3rd place team $200.
  • Teams from the same school cannot win multiple prizes, regardless of final ranking. The school of the 1st place team will receive a plaque that will be given at the annual meeting in Rolla in the spring of 2020.



1. Eligibility

  1. Each team must consist of students in high school, technical school, trade school, or undergraduate or graduate students of a college or university at the time of the competition. Undergraduate students on cooperative or internship work assignment are also eligible to compete. All members of a given team must be from the same school.
  2. A team can have as many members as desired. Each school may register a maximum of two (2) teams.
  3. Each team must have a supervising faculty advisor who will see that the student team complies with the rules of the competition. A signed letter by the advisor, stating that all students are enrolled full-time and that the team has followed the rules shall be delivered to ACI-MO at the time of competition.

2. Material

All material requirements indicated below should be closely followed. The final mix design of the mixture should be given to the judges.

  1. The mortar must use cementitious materials as binder. Any other gluing constituent, such as epoxy or glue, is not permitted.
  2. The cubes shall not contain any reinforcement, whether metallic or non-metallic. Fibers of any kind are thus not allowed.
  3. Not meeting the requirements in 2.a and 2.b will lead to automatic disqualification of the team. The judges will evaluate broken cubes for any non-compliant material.
  4. The teams are free to select cement, cementitious materials, fillers, aggregates (as long as the nominal maximum aggregate size is equal or smaller than the #4 sieve), water, admixtures, curing time and methods, etc.

3. Mixture design sheet

Teams are required to provide  the mixture design including  all ingredients .

4. Testing

  1. The testing of the cubes will be performed at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri
  2. Presence of team members is strongly encouraged but not required. Should a team not be able to make it to the testing laboratory, they are allowed to send three cubes to Dimitri Feys (See item #9 for shipping information) in advance of the competition. Note that the submission must arrive at Missouri S&T no later than the end of the day on Thursday, October 10th. The submission must include three (3) cube specimens, the mixture design sheet, and the signed advisor sheet.  Note that teams attending the competition do not need to ship samples and documents prior to competition.
  3. ACI-MO will reimburse, at a rate of $0.25/mile, the roundtrip of one (1) vehicle per school. The cost associated to multiple vehicles must be carried by other individuals or organizations.
  4. Each attending team will need to bring three (3) mortar cubes and the mix design sheet to the testing location.
  5. Following a randomized order as determined by the judges, two cubes of each team shall be tested.
  6. Following the procedure described in ASTM C109, the cubes shall be subjected to an increasing compressive load until failure. The maximum load at failure will be recorded in pounds.

5. Scoring

The load for each cube will be evaluated:

R = Absolute value (48000 – F), where F is the recorded load in lbs.

The R value for each cube will be averaged to determine an average R –value. The team with the lowest average R-value wins the competition.

It should thus be noted that the R-value is calculated for each cube individually first, and then averaged to get the total score. The R-value will not be calculated based on the average load on the cubes.

6. Judging

  1. The Judges will be appointed by the President and the Executive Director of the Missouri Chapter of ACI.
  2. The Judges will make the final determination on compliance with the rules. Disqualified entries shall not be included in the scoring or considered for awards. See section 8.
  3. The decision of the Judges will be final, and appeals will not be considered.
  4. Suggestions for improvement may be submitted to the ACI-MO Board of Directors following completion of the competition.

7. Registration

  1. Advance notice of “intent to compete” must be submitted by each team by September 30, 2019. This can be accomplished by emailing ACI-MO Executive Director, Luke Snell ([email protected] ).
  2. The competition will begin at 11 am, Saturday, October 12th, at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

8. Compliance with ACI-MO cube strength competition rules

ACI-MO reserves the right to perform a detailed examination and check all entries for compliance with the competition rules. Due to the complexity of this task, the examination may be done after the competition. If the examination shows that a team did not follow the rules, the team, their advisor, and all of his/her teams will be disqualified.


9. If shipping cubes

Send to the following address. They must be received by Thursday, October 10th, 2019. See item #4 for complete information that must be sent with the cubes.

Dimitri Feys
128 Butler-Carlton Hall
1401 N. Pine Street
Rolla. MO, 65409

10. Questions and Contact

Luke Snell
[email protected]