A team of eight engineering students are celebrating a top five finish for the performance of their Chem-E Car at the 2013 Southern Regional American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Student Conference, held on the campus of University of Kentucky.  Chem-E cars are fueled and stopped with a chemical reaction.  This achievement means UTC will compete in the national AIChE competition, to be held in San Francisco this fall.

DSCN1265One hour before the start of the regional competition, the UTC team learned the payload and the distance its chemically-operated small vehicle would have to travel.  Fifteen teams competed in Kentucky.

“The student team has worked hard and will continue to improve the car throughout the summer in preparation for nationals, where the competition is extremely stiff.  Based on the team’s dedication, I expect an excellent performance in San Francisco as well,” exclaimed Dr. Tricia A. W. Thomas.  As the team’s faculty advisor and Assistant Professor in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, Thomas’ role was invaluable to the students.

DSCN1232“Dr. Thomas has been a great help to our team.  She helped us trouble-shoot,” explained Ben Kegley, Chem-E Car team leader at UTC.

In addition to UTC, Kegley said Georgia Tech and UTK were among the top five finishers.  He added that in the national competition, there are 33 qualifying spots from nine regions in the United States.

Kegley, a junior, has been on each UTC Chem-E car team since he was a freshman.  He plans to attend graduate school to study material science, a sub-branch of engineering which examines how materials behave at a microscopic level.

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