ChemE Car wins award at the Nationals

Posted: October 30, 2018

The 2018 ChemE Car nearing the finish line
The 2018 ChemE Car nearing the finish line
Ohio State's ChemE Car Team made a great showing at last weekend's national competition, completing two successful runs that finished just one meter short of the line on both runs. Congratulations to all members on these hard-won results!

The team had some exciting moments related to its first run -- which had judges concerned about possibly illegal tactics! Explanation: the maneuver to start the car involves opening a valve, which, from a distance, can look like the car is being illegally pushed forward. To appease the judges, after the first run, AJ changed his technique to start the car. This put the team at a slight disadvantage, since they had done hundreds of trials using the original starting technique -- and when you're counting milliseconds, a slightly different technique can result in a trial one to two meters off from the target line. However, in light of this last-minute accomodation (and the fact that Ohio State may have had the greatest number of students attend the event, noticeable because everyone was wearing a team shirt!), the team won the Sportsmanship Award.

This year's car runs on citric acid and sodium bicarbonate that work together to build up pressure to operate a pneumatic motor. The design of the car, which began last fall under the leadership of immediate Past President AJ Wahlstrom, continues to evolve, with the team recently installing longboard wheels for the competition.  

Many parts of the car were created with the assistance of a 3D printer, which the club bought last summer. "Now students of all rank can design parts and get them printed," said ChemE Car President Spencer Krebs.

Held in Pittsburgh October 27-28, 2018, Ohio State's ChemE Car team competed against 39 other schools from all over the world.

"Some cars were extremely creative with their design," Krebs said. "Designs for the cars included colorful lights, decorations, and complex energy sources. We now have some new ideas that we plan to apply to our cars next semester."

Continuous improvement efforts are always part of ChemE Car's plans. "It has been my goal as president to develop ChemE Car's leadership and resources to enable us to send a car to the Nationals for years to come," said President Spencer Krebs. "We've set high expectations for ourselves for Spring Regionals, and we plan to be back at Nationals next year. It was fun to make it to Nationals for the first time in five years, and now we know it'd be even more fun to win!" he said.

Current members of ChemE Car include Spencer Krebs, Alec Glenwright, Dwight Chen, Alexander Furlong, Alex  Leveto, Brian Veitch, Kovid Misicka, Daniel Bibler, Timothy Choi, Steve Lin, Mitch Vetter, Andrew Bitter, Mason Lilja, Tim Becker, Jamie O'Sullivan, Zane Gordon, Calli Krebs, John Osburn, and Jack Thomas.

ChemE Car team at the Fall 2018 National Competition in Pittsburgh
ChemE Car team with their Sportsmanship Award, Fall 2018 National AIChE Competition, Pittsburgh
Category: Undergraduate