On April 9, the UA Chem-E-Car Design Team won the North Central Regional Chem-E-Car Championship at Michigan Technological University, where UA’s Monty Carlo stopped 10.5 inches away from the 67-foot finish line.
“On April 9, the UA Chem-E-Car Design Team won the North Central Regional Chem-E-Car Championship at Michigan Technological University, where UA’s Monty Carlo stopped 10.5 inches away from the 67-foot finish line.
The Akron car edged ahead of second and third place Michigan Tech and University of Minnesota, respectively. This was UA’s third regional championship. Teams from UA also won the regional championship in 2000 and 2005. The University of Akron also won the national competition in 2000.
UA placed first in the poster competition for the seventh consecutive poster championship on the regional level. Creating the poster involves listing information used and discovered while creating the car. UA also took home the Most Creative Vehicle Design award for its innovative electronics and drive system.
UA will advance to the 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) National Student Conference Oct. 14 in Minneapolis.
UA team co-captain Marcus Grimm, a chemical engineering major, said UA’s car uses a microprocessor for precise control. With Grimm as a co-captain, The University of Akron team has placed in the top five nationally for the past three years.
Our car is controlled through a microprocessor which was developed in part by our electrical engineer, said Grimm. No other teams, not even on the national level, use a microprocessor to control their cars.
Grimm said the competition is unique because it focuses on precision rather than raw power.
When people hear about the car, they expect it to go really fast or really far, but that’s not what the goal is, said Grimm. We are focused on control and consistency, which makes this a unique competition.
Dr. Richard Elliot, professor of chemical engineering, feels that the competition provides good practical experience for the undergraduate students.
This is definitely more of practical, hands on experience, said Elliot. It adds to each student’s resume showing that they competed nationally in a team-building experience. It gives students the chance to develop leadership and problem solving skills.
Additionally, the students learn about safety. There are strict rules about packaging the car and chemicals for transport to the competition as well as what chemicals we are allowed to use.
Among its many features, UA’s Monty Carlo also includes an innovative stopping mechanism comprised of an electrochemical cell constructed of zinc and copper electrodes reacting across a zinc-and-copper sulfate electrolyte. The cell is drained using a pulsating current profile. Vehicle movement stops when the voltage drops below a preset threshold.
Monty’s power source, an alkaline fuel cell and proton exchange membrane fuel cell wired in series, together with its custom-designed microprocessor with wireless data collection capabilities, made the car a winner.
No matter how a team’s Chem-E-Car car runs, it must be friendly to the environment and have no visible gas/liquid emissions. The dimensions of the car are also restricted, with a maximum size comparable to a shoebox. Additionally, the car can’t exceed $2,000 in construction costs.
“” #1.2181875:3993619220.JPG:Chem-E-Car:The University of Akron Chem-E-Car Design Team won their third North Central Regional Championship at michigan Technological University on April 9. The car stopped 10.5 inches away from the 67-foot finish line, beating Michigan Tech and the University of Minnesota. UA also won the regional championship in 2000 and 2005. The 2000 regional championship team went to win the national championship.:Courtesy of UA Chem-E-Car Design Team”