UW's Chemical Car Among Nation's Top 10
William Blair of Big Piney on team who built car
November 13, 2005
A chemical-powered car developed by University of Wyoming students finished 9th among 29 entries in a national Chem-E-Car competition held during the annual meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in Cincinnati, Ohio, according to the University of Wyoming.
The team of UW chemical engineering students earned the opportunity to compete at the national meeting by winning regional competition last spring at the Colorado School of Mines. Representing UW at the national competition were Zach Appel, Grant, Neb; William Blair, Big Piney; and Reid Edwards, Green River. The students powered their car by the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide over a manganese oxide catalyst, showing that finding alternate energy sources is not only useful but also fun.
Classroom knowledge was put to the test as the students were asked to make last-minute calculations as to how their car, based upon its unique chemical reaction, should carry 300 grams of water 79 feet. The students were not given this information until one hour before the competition. The teams got two chances to run their cars, with their final score being their best attempt at meeting the established distance.
"We were thrilled to compete against some of the best schools in the country," says Blair. "It was satisfying to get our car off the line and stop close to the 79-foot line, while other cars were exploding and catching fire. Overall, this incredible opportunity and experience will never be forgotten."
The team's faculty adviser, Assistant Professor Morris Argyle, says, "The team worked very hard, spending weeks preparing for the national competition, where they finished in the top 10 among 29 entries that were the best performers from about 100 entries from regional competitions around the country. The team should be proud of an outstanding design that was both safe and reliable. Overall, they did an excellent job."