A group of students from Missouri University of Science and Technology will travel over 600 miles to compete at the 2014 national Chem-E-Car Competition with the group’s chemical reaction-powered, autonomous vehicle.
Missouri S&T’s Chem-E-Car Design Team will compete on Sunday, Nov. 16, in Atlanta against 32 other teams from around the U.S. The team qualified for the national competition by earning first place at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ 2014 Mid-America Regional Conference, which was held April 11-12 at the University of Iowa.
The Chem-E-Car competition challenges teams to design and build a chemically powered shoebox-sized car that uses a chemical reaction to travel a target distance while carrying a pre-established load.
At the competition, all vehicles must travel a randomly set distance. The car closest to the finish line at the end of the race will win. Each car will be assigned a random amount of cargo weight that it must carry during the race. Teams must calculate the average velocity of their vehicle and decide what volume of the chemical solution would be required to activate the battery power.
The Missouri S&T car, named “The Hour Strikes XII,” is powered by a homemade six-cell lead-acid battery. The braking system is controlled by a chemical timer, which involves a sensor detecting light produced from a luminols chemiluminescence reaction. A mixture of luminol and bleach acts as a stop-and-start mechanism, which triggers a relay that connects the battery and the motor.
Kenneth Mucalo, a senior in chemical engineering from St. Louis, is the Chem-E-Car team leader. Dr. Daniel Forciniti, professor of chemical and biochemical engineering at S&T, is the Chem-E-Car team advisor.
The following students will represent Missouri S&T at the competition:
Kristian Branscum, a senior in chemical engineering from La Monte, Missouri
Michael Clemons, a sophomore in chemical engineering from Ballwin, Missouri
Jonathan Colaric, a senior in chemical engineering from Lee’s Summit, Missouri
Yae Lin Lee, a sophomore in chemical engineering from Incheon, Republic of Korea
Gregg McDaniels Jr., a senior in chemical engineering from St. Charles, Missouri
Kenneth Mucalo, a senior in chemical engineering from St. Louis
Folabomi Opakunle, a sophomore in chemical engineering from Blue Springs, Missouri
Chris Palmer, a senior in chemical engineering from St. Peters, Missouri
Shayan Sazdar, a sophomore in chemical engineering from Chesterfield, Missouri
Amy Snyder, a senior in chemical engineering from Rolla, Missouri
Valerie Teson, a sophomore in engineering from Wentzville, Missouri
Mathias Whitworth, a sophomore in chemical engineering from Mexico, Missouri.