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CSU Chem-E car team qualifies for national competition

October 13, 2011

When the CSU Chem-E Car team competes at the 13th Annual National Chem-E Car Competition in Minneapolis this month, the team will be racing against nearly 30 student teams from such universities as Cornell, Bucknell, UCSB, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, Rutgers, and Rice, to name a few.

The CSU student team competing in nationals with the Chem-E CarTo advance to the national competition, the CSU Chem-E Car team competed in April at the Rocky Mountain Regional Competition, earning first place for their efforts in the competition held at the University of Wyoming.

Team designed, built car

The team designed, constructed and raced their Chem-E Car vehicle, which is powered by a chemical reaction. For the competition, the car and all of its components were required to fit into a shoebox-sized container and construction costs were not to exceed $2,000. From the regional race, the top three Rocky Mountain collegiate teams will compete in Minneapolis: CSU, the University of North Dakota and the University of Utah.

The CSU team of 11 engineering students has been planning and working on their car, named Murphy, for three semesters. The team’s car is constructed of a carbon-fiber composite material and milled aluminum and it runs off of a hydrogen fuel cell. To be ready for the competition, the team, comprised of chemical and mechanical engineers, must not only design the car, but also test it, collecting data in advance to know how the car runs under different conditions.

At the race, each Chem-E car is expected to drive down a track, powered by its chemical reaction, and then stop at a prescribed distance while carrying a specific weight. One hour before the competition, the team is notified of the travel distance and the weight of the load, all unique for the competition. The team must then adjust the amount of chemicals based on the new requirements to win the race. The team coming closest to the mark wins the competition and the year’s bragging rights for its university.

CSU's Chem-E Car powered by a chemical reactionThe Chem-E Car competition is a highlight of the Annual Student Convention for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the world’s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, being held Oct 14-16 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Tim Gonzales is coach

The 2011 Rams team is coached by Tim Gonzales, with team members Andy Mucklow, Fred Gutierrez Smigiel, Alyse Goupil, Sean Walsh, Carmen Van Wert, Bria Boeggeman, Moses Haro, Denys Haro, Sam Haro, Curtis Dean and Anna Jones.

This year’s CSU group hopes to join the ranks of the 2001 CSU Chem-E Car team - the last CSU team to win the national competition.

Contact: Andy Mucklow
Phone: (970) 846-9786