U of T Engineering Student Team Wins First Place in Regional Chem-E-Car Competition

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University of Toronto Chemical Vehicles (UTCV) student group recently won first place in the 2022 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Northeast Regional Chem-E-Car Competition.

The U of T Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering team beat defending champion teams from Clarkson University and Cornell University in the April 30 race, which draws teams multidisciplinary design teams from across North America to display cars powered by chemical energy sources.

They will now move on to the national championship in November.

“The competition distance was 20 meters and our car covered 20.04 meters with our team record error of just four centimeters,” said Jinmyung Jang, a U of T engineering alumnus and co-chair of UTCV. “It’s an extremely competitive result, given that the average error of the winning teams in the national competition since 2015 was around five centimeters.”

The UTCV team will bring their Chem-E car design to Phoenix in November (photo courtesy of UTCV)

The UTCV team first entered the regional competition in 2018 and placed ninth out of 21 teams. The following year, they reached sixth place out of 12 teams.

After a two-year absence due to COVID-19 restrictions, the U of T team returned to competition with key design innovations including: a safe and repeatable with improved corrosion control; methylene blue chemical timer with sensor algorithm developed to improve accuracy; a portable magnetic stirrer installed on the car; and improving the quality of construction and electronic connections.

Jang says the victory is an extraordinary achievement for the UTCV team and would not have been possible without the resources and support of the Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry Department.

“We managed to compete after only three months of access to the lab, compared to five months in a typical season,” he says.

“Participating in this design challenge allows our students to develop their problem-solving and leadership skills, while gaining technical exposure to wet chemistry labs, battery construction, and design component integration” , says the professor Ramin Farnood, director of the department of chemical engineering and applied chemistry. “This is a great example of experiential learning opportunities that we would like to see our students engaged in.

The annual 2022 AIChE Chem-E-Car National Championship will be held November 11-14 in Phoenix, Arizona.

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