Simply put, we construct vehicles powered by chemical reactions.
A Chem E Car typically contains a chemical battery and a reaction that undergoes a measurable change, or a stopping mechanism. It must be no larger than 40cm x 30cm x 20cm and be able to carry a variable water weight. The car does not compete in a race, but rather a test of precision. Crossing the finish line even a hair leads to disqualification, not victory. The winning car is the one that stops the closest to the line using chemistry alone. Details can be found in the Official Rules, however the travel distance is given an hour before competition.
Every Spring, we compete at the Chem E Car Competition hosted by the AIChE Mid-America Regional Student Conference against university teams from Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, and Missouri. In the Fall, we compete against teams from around the world at the Annual AIChE Student Conference. We are able to attend and compete at these conferences with the support of the Student Design and Experiential Learning Center and the Missouri S&T Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Department.
Our organization currently consists of 2 car teams and a research team. Car teams work on designing and building the cars as well as testing and fine-tuning their chosen reactions. Some teams refine old reactions, but others look into new and unique ones. With the addition of the research team in 2016, we have students experimenting on reactions that have peaked their interest, allowing the car teams to narrow their focus.