For the second year in a row, students at Missouri University of Science and Technology won first place in a chemical reaction-powered, autonomous vehicle competition.
The 2011 AIChE Mid-America Regional Competition was held at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville April 8-9. Hundreds of chemical engineering students from the Midwest participated in the competition.
The ChemE Car competition challenges teams to design and build a chemically-powered, shoebox-sized car that uses a chemical reaction to reach a target distance, while carrying a pre-established load. This year’s target distance was 57 feet with a load of zero.
Missouri S&T’s “Chem-E Boat” took the prize with a distance of 3 feet, 6.5 inches from the target. The University of Missouri-Columbia took second place with a distance of 8 feet, 7.5 inches from the target.
The Chem-E Boat is powered by a custom-built, lead-acid battery that produces 8.1 volts and 5.15 amps. The boat’s braking system is controlled by a change in colors caused by an iodine clock reaction. The color change is detected by a fiber-optic photo sensor, which trips a relay to cut the power to the motor of the car. The time elapsed for the color change is adjusted by changing the reactants ratio.
Missouri S&T Chem-E Car Team is advised by Dr. Daniel Forciniti, professor of chemical engineering. Members include: