UA Chem E Car Team Set To Compete

Tuscaloosa, Ala. – A group of chemical engineering students from The University of Alabama have designed a car powered by a chemical reaction as part of a national collegiate contest of chemically-run cars.

The group will compete Saturday in Puerto Rico at the 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers, or AIChE, Southern Regional Conference held at the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez Campus.

The AIChE’s Chem E Car Competitions began in 1999. Student teams are charged with designing and making a vehicle powered with a chemical energy source. The vehicle must carry a load a given distance and stop, but the teams do not know the weight of the load until just before the competition.

The vehicles are judged on the completion of a defined task and creativity of design. Students use knowledge on chemical reactions and chemical engineering gained in the classroom, and apply them to the car.

UA’s team decided to go with a simple fuel source, powering the car by mixing baking soda and a concentrated form of vinegar, said Dr. Jason Bara, sponsor of UA’s AIChE student chapter and assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering.

The team’s co-captains are Shelby Brooks, Eric Burke and Chris Griffith. Other team members include:

  • Natalie Anderson
  • Spenser Brown
  • Jacob Carter
  • Elizabeth Cook
  • Dakota Gembala
  • Robert Lind
  • Tommy Lind
  • Mike Nathanson
  • Patrick Richards

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s fully accredited College of Engineering has more than 5,800 students and more than 130 faculty. In recent years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz, Boren, Mitchell and Truman scholars.