A group of students from Missouri University of Science and Technology will compete at the 2015 national Chem-E-Car competition with its chemical reaction-powered autonomous vehicle.
Missouri S&T’s Chem-E-Car Team will compete on Sunday, Nov. 8, in Salt Lake City during the 2015 Annual American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Student Conference. The team will compete against 33 other teams from around the U.S. Missouri S&T’s team qualified for the national competition by earning third place at the AIChE’ 2015 Mid-America Regional Conference, which was held in early April.
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 is named “Box – to the seventh power,” which references the car’s construction and the mathematical multiplication tool of (n)th powers. It is powered by a homemade lead-acid battery. The car’s braking system is controlled using a hydrogen peroxide reaction with potassium iodide as a catalyst. This reaction triggers a relay that connects the battery and the motor and allows the vehicle to stop after a set distance. The car’s chassis is made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic specifically designed for the car.
Folabomi Opakunle, a senior in chemical engineering from Blue Springs, Missouri, is the Chem-E-Car Team president. Dr. Christi Luks, associate teaching professor of chemical and biochemical engineering at Missouri S&T, is the team’s faculty advisor.
The following Missouri S&T students will travel to the event:
Mason Donnell, a junior in biological sciences from Willard, Missouri
Aaron Latal, a senior in chemical engineering from St. Louis
Yae Lin Lee, a junior in chemical engineering from Clayton, Missouri
Michael McMahon, a junior in chemical engineering from Collinsville, Illinois
Kenneth Mucalo, a senior in chemical engineering from St. Louis
Julie Nguyen, a senior in chemical engineering from St. Louis
Folabomi Opakunle, a senior in chemical engineering from Blue Springs, Missouri
Shayan Sazdar, a senior in chemical engineering from Chesterfield, Missouri
Amy Snyder, a senior in chemical engineering from Hillsboro, Missouri
Arjun Suresh, a junior in chemical engineering from St. Louis
Valerie Teson, a junior in chemical engineering from Wentzville, Missouri
Lauren Weil, a senior in chemical engineering from Hecker, Illinois
Mathias Whitworth, a junior in chemical engineering from Mexico, Missouri.