The K-State Chem-E-Car engineering student design team travelled to the University of Kansas to compete in the Midwest regional competition at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers regional student conference on April 4, 2015 and came away with the victory in dramatic fashion.
Chem-E-Car is a student engineering competition in which student teams from universities across the nation design small cars powered and stopped solely by chemical reactions. At the competition, teams find out an hour beforehand the distance their car must travel and the weight it must carry, and the team that engineers their car to autonomously stop closest to the line in two trials wins.
The K-State team has spent the past school year building and refining a pressure-driven car, a zinc-copper battery-powered car, and a zinc-carbon industrial battery-powered car (which the team did not finish in time to enter in the competition), the former of which claimed a dramatic victory. Competing last in the second round after stopping closest to the line in the first round, the pressure car rolled two feet past the line, almost hitting the wall and disqualifying itself, before rolling backwards a foot to stop a mere six inches from the line – closer than the previous competitor’s one foot. With their victory, the pressure car subteam of the K-State Chem-E-Car team will next travel to the national Chem-E-Car competition in Salt Lake City in November.