Missouri S&T’s Chem-E-Car earns third in international competition

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On November 25, 2020

Portrait of the Chem-E-Car 2020 Student Design Team, with the car that earned third place. Team members shown from left to right: Ryan Juergens, Alyssa Robinson, Nic Bourisaw, Erik Valdez, O’Fallon, Trent Holtgrave. Photo by Tom Wagner, Missouri S&T, Student Design and Experiential Learning Center.

The Missouri S&T Chem-E-Car Design Team’s entry into the recent American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Chem-E-Car Competition earned third place while competing against schools from around the United States.

The virtual event, which teams had to qualify to participate in by earning a high finish at a regional competition, challenged students to design and construct shoebox-sized cars, powered by a chemical energy source, that will safely carry a specified load over a given distance and then stop. The event is a part of the annual AIChE Student Conference.

Due to the remote nature of the event, teams watched the competition via Zoom and were given instructions on how to broadcast their event participation.

At the competition, all vehicles had to travel a randomly set distance between 15 and 30 meters. The final destination was randomized to make team members adapt and perform calculations in a short period of time. Teams calculated the average velocity of their vehicle and decided what volume of the chemical solution they needed to activate the battery power. The car closest to the finish line at the end of the race earned the highest amount of points.

Missouri S&T’s car was named the Terry Cruise 2.0. It used a sodium thiosulfate and hydrochloric acid stopping reaction. This reaction’s leftover precipitate blocks a light that connects power to the car’s six-cell lead-acid battery, stopping the vehicle.

The Chem-E-Car Team is one of 19 student-run teams in Missouri S&T’s Student Design and Experiential Learning Center (SDELC). The SDELC, housed in the Kummer Student Design Center, provides teams with computer design laboratories, a manufacturing shop, office space and logistical support. Design teams mirror small start-up companies that plan large-scale projects, organize into departments, raise funds, communicate their ideas and solve open-ended design challenges. Almost every team competes annually at an event against other collegiate teams from around the country and the world. For more information about the teams, visit design.mst.edu.

About Missouri University of Science and Technology

Founded in 1870 as the University of Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of 7,600 students and part of the four-campus University of Missouri System. Located in Rolla, Missouri, Missouri S&T offers 99 different degree programs in 40 areas of study, including engineering, the sciences, business and information technology, education, the humanities, and the liberal arts. Missouri S&T is known globally and is highly ranked for providing a high return on tuition investment, exceptional career opportunities for graduates, and an emphasis on applied, hands-on learning through student design teams and cooperative education and internship opportunities. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit www.mst.edu.

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