A KAIST team consisted of four students from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering won the Chem-E-Car Competition 2016, which took place on November 13 at the Union Square in San Francisco. The students who participated were Young-Hyun Cha, Jin-Sol Shin, Dae-Seok Oh, and Wan-Tae Kim. Their adviser was Professor Doh Chang Lee of the same department.
Established in 1999, the Chem-E-Car is an annual worldwide college competition for students majoring in chemical engineering. The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), founded in 1908, is the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals with more than 50,000 members from over 100 countries and hosts this competition every year.
A total of 41 university teams including Carnegie Mellon University and Purdue University participated in this year’s competition.
KAIST students competed in the event for the first time in 2014 and reached the rank of 28. In 2015, the students placed 16th, and finally, took the first place in last month’s competition, followed by the Georgia Institute of Technology.
In the competition, students must design small-scale (20x30x40 cm) automobiles that operate chemically, as well as describe their research and drive their car a fixed distance down a wedge-shaped course to demonstrate the car’s capabilities. In addition to driving a specified distance (15-30 meters), the car must hold a payload of 0-500 mL of water.
The organizers tell participants the exact distance and amount of payloads one hour before the competition begins. Winners are chosen based on their finishing time and how close their car reaches the finish line. Thus, students must show sophisticated coordination of chemical reactions to win.
The KAIST team designed their car to have a stable power output using a Vanadium redox flow battery developed by Professor Hee Tak Kim of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. They employed iodine clock reactions to induce quick and precise chemical reactions to control their car.
KAIST’s car finished with the best run coming within 11 cm of the target line; Georgia Tech’s car reached the finish line by 13 cm and New Jersey Institute of Technology’s car by 14 cm.
Young-Hyun Cha, one of the four students, said, “When we first designed our car, we had to deal with many issues such as stalls or connection errors. We kept working on fixing these problems through trial and error, which eventually led us to success.”
For a news article on KAIST’s win at 2016 Chemi-E-Car Competition by AIChE, see the link below:
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