Missouri University of Science and Technology's Chem-E-Car Design Team's two entries into the recent American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) regional competition finished second and third. The high finishes qualified the team for a trip to the national 2019 AlChE Student Conference in Orlando, Florida, in November.

Missouri S&T recently hosted the regional competition that challenges college students to design and construct cars powered by a chemical energy source that will safely carry a specified load over a given distance and then stop. S&T entered two vehicles in the competition. 

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 had to calculate the average velocity of their vehicle and decide what volume of the chemical solution was required to activate the battery power. The car closest to the finish line at the end of the race earned the highest amount of points. 

The Missouri S&T teams competed with “Terry Cruise,” a vehicle powered by a six-cell lead-acid battery with a dye-changing RedOx reaction using bleach and black food coloring, and “Glo-Kart,” which was also powered by a six-cell lead-acid battery and is stopped by using a luminol chemiluminesence reaction. Glo-Kart earned second place at the competition and Terry Cruise earned third place. While both teams finished high enough to qualify for the next competition, teams are limited to one entry at the national competition. The team decided to submit Glo-Kart as its representative in November. 

The Chem-E-Car Team is one of 20 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.