Both Teams get Results at Competition!
March 31, 2017
After a busy weekend at the AIChE 2017 Mid-America Student Regional Conference at University of Tulsa, both car teams took home awards from the competition. The Cinnamaldehyde Challenge placed 7th in the car competition and the CheMystery Machine placed 3rd in the poster competition. Research team was busy learning about all of the reactions showcased at the competition, bringing home plenty of notes for future reactions.
The CheMystery Machine, led by Mathias Whitworth, used a large 7 cell lead acid battery to provide power for their car. The team was forced to use this battery, their back-up battery, after continued attempts with a unique zinc-bromide battery showed little results. To stop their car, they used a reaction between water and acetic anhydride, producing acetic acid that would lower the solution’s pH to a predetermined value. Both competition runs the battery proved successful, however a malfunction in the stopping mechanism saw the car continue well past the finish line. Sadly, the pH meter used to monitor the reaction’s change in acidity over time lost calibration. The competition was not over though. The team bounced back in the Chem E Car Poster Competition by eloquently presenting the details of their car to the judges. By showing off the chemistry behind their reactions and their car’s safety features, they claimed 3rd place poster competition.
Team members: Stephen Eastman, Blake Folta, Marc Saint-Amour, Mathias Whitworth, Mason McGavock , Jakeb Baldridge, Bobby Boxerman
Not Pictured: Eric Rodriguez, Richard Messer
The Cinnamaldehyde Challenge, led by Danny Ehrett, used a smaller 5 cell lead acid battery inside their car. Their stopping mechanism and team namesake reaction, the Cinnamaldehyde Clock Reaction, brought the team good results at competition. Being used for the first time by an S&T team, this reaction consisted of the aldol condensation of cinnamaldehyde and acetone catalyzed by sodium hydroxide. It produces a large molecule that becomes saturated in solution and precipitates all at once, causing precipitate to ‘crash out of solution.’ Using a light sensor to measure this change, the team managed to stop their car before the ending line. While the car stopped perfectly timed, a misalignment of its drive mechanism gears disabled its travel to just over half the necessary distance. This performance resulted in a Missouri S&T 7th place finish out the 16 university teams.
Team members: Bobby Boxerman, Dylan Bequette, Daniel Ellerbrock, Christian Parsons, Danny Ehrett, Josh Lees, Azfar Zulkifli, Trevor Vogan
Not Pictured: Brent Johnston, Ashar Mohammed, Ryan Delahanty, Dustin Haring