Chem-E-Car team qualifies for national competition

By The Mercury

Kansas State University’s Chem-E-Car Team has landed a spot in the national competition, set for Nov. 1-2 in San Francisco. The competition is part of the annual meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

The team earned its spot by finishing in third place at a recent regional competition in Norman, Okla. The team entered two cars — Catmobile and Wildcat Cruiser — in the event, which earned third and fourth places in performance and first and third places in the poster presentation.

For chem-E-car competitions, teams build shoebox-size cars that are powered and controlled by chemical reactions. The goal of the competition is for the car to carry a specified payload, between 0 grams to 500 grams, a specified distance, between 50 feet to 100 feet, within two minutes. The car that stops the closest to the finish line wins. The required payload size and distance are revealed the day of the competition.

“The challenge is to have calibrated the vehicle for all possible weights and distances,” said Kevin Diehl, senior in chemical engineering, Wichita, and captain of the university’s Chem-E-Car Team. “Some cars only use one reaction, so the car stops when the reaction is complete. Others use two: one to provide the power to move the car, and the other to change when the car stops.”

Also serving as captain of the university’s team is Michael Whinery, junior in chemical engineering, Rose Hill. The team’s faculty adviser is Keith Hohn, professor of chemical engineering.

Other team members, all chemical engineering majors unless otherwise noted, include:

Jason Grosssardt, sophomore, Halstead; Mason Grittman, senior in mechanical engineering and accounting, Hoyt; Ben Williams, sophomore, Lawrence; Lacie Falk, junior, Linwood; Michael Carlson, junior, Olathe; Chris Bradley, junior, Shawnee; Matthew Christensen, sophomore in pre-professional secondary education, Tonganoxie; Cody Hammel, junior in mechanical engineering, Valley Center; and Thaddeus Tuck, junior, Wamego.

From out of country: Chaoran Huang, senior, China; and Charlie Fu, junior, Hong Kong.

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