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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 received 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 time period. 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 most points.
Missouri S&T’s, named the Terry Cruise 2.0, 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 it.