Stillwater News Press

March 13, 2012

Oklahoma State chemical engineering students compete in Stillwater

By Chase Rheam

STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State University engineering students geared up for the 12th Annual Chem-E-Car Competition at Wes Watkins Center Tuesday afternoon. Groups of sophomores and juniors have been preparing for the competition since last August.

The junior members of the group work to assemble a vehicle that can be propelled by a chemical reaction. Junior Nate Nahmias said sophomores work with juniors to learn more about the vehicles and put together a poster that describes the vehicle and other criteria including the chemical reaction, the calibration curve and the energy balance.

"We've done a lot of work and I think it's going to pay off," said Nahmias.

Assistant Professor Heather Fahlenkamp said groups must use their vehicle to carry a certain amount of water a specific distance. The vehicle that comes closest wins. Each group gets two attempts.

"And both of those (factors) are not selected until one hour prior to the competition," said Fahlenkamp. "So they pretty much have to design their car, calibrate their car for that maximum range and have some control over how to operate that car within those given conditions."

The groups assembled Tuesday to test out their vehicles.

Winners of this competiton will go on to regionals hosted in St. Louis, Mo., March 29 and 30.