To relate information and experiences gained through real-life situations or
structured educational venues to a hands-on, goal-oriented project.
AIChE Project Background
The American Institute of Chemical Engineers annually hosts a competition among college students to build a small scale model vehicle powered only by chemical means. The competition has regional and national levels, each occurring during the student conference. Furthermore, the competition includes a separate poster/research section for students to present their studies.
Car Project Specifications:
1. The car and all of its contents must fit within a shoe box of dimensions no larger than 40 cm x 30 cm x 18 cm.
2. No visible gases or liquids can be emitted, as it should be a “green vehicle,” environmentally friendly.
3. The stopping mechanism must be chemically controlled.
4. Vehicle must be able to travel 50-100ft and carry a load of up to 500 mL of water, both variables that are unknown until immediately before competition.
5. Students must demonstrate they can control a chemical reaction and combine electrical, mechanical, and chemical technology for a specific purpose.
6. No commercial batteries may be used to power the car directly.
7. The vehicle must not exceed $2000 in construction.
While graduate students and faculty are not permitted to directly assist in the car project, the group is rewarded for student participation from outside the chemical engineering field.
Conceptually, the project should combine many disciplines to produce a working device.
The Akron team has made great strides in creating a project environment that is conducive to research and experimentation. After many years of sitting dormant, the team reclaimed its 2000 National Championship reputation, placing 1st in the 2005 regional conference.
For the university, the primary goal is to prevent students from looking backwards, with one principal objective, “NO OLD TECHNOLOGY, BE CREATIVE!”
Leading in 2005 with an alkaline fuel cell, the team’s chief goal was to involve students on a path towards success while pushing for innovation. Additionally, the team is actively seeking new members to contribute in the pursuit of leadership and creativity. It is a great time to be involved with The University of Akron’s Chem-E-Car program.
Documents for download: