Virginia Tech Chem-E-Car Wins Third Place the AICHE Mid-Atlantic Student Meeting
April 2018 - The Virginia Tech Chem-E-Car team competed in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Competition held as part of the AICHE Mid-Atlantic Student Meeting held at Princeton University. The competition requires students to design and build a small autonomous vehicle whose propulsion system and control mechanism rely on chemical reactions. The goal is for the car to travel a defined distance and stop without outside intervention. The VT car, nicknamed the Meme-machine, relied on a student-built lead acid battery to drive an electric motor. The stopping mechanism relied on a Cinnemaldehyde clock reaction in which an opaque solid precipitate forms in the reactor after a specific length of time which depended on reactant concentrations and temperature. A photodiode detects the formation of the solid and switches off the motor.
The team gratefully acknowledges the technical support of the VT Chemical Engineering Staff, as well as financial support from the Student Engineers Council, Zestron, Exxon-Mobil, and Steve Cope.