UNM Undergraduate Students Win First Place in 2019 AIChE Chemical Car Competition

April 30, 2019

AIChE team
Schools from all around the region gathered this past weekend for the 2019 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Rocky Mountain Regional conference, held in Golden, CO. The Colorado School of Mines hosted the conference; planning everything from workshops to poster competitions. The one event that most interested the UNM students, however, was the Chem-E-Car Competition. 
According to the official AIChE national organization, “AIChE's annual Chem-E-Car Competition® engages college students in designing and constructing a car powered by a chemical energy source that will safely carry a specified load over a given distance and stop.”  UNM students worked for months to create their car, which included an aluminum air battery propulsion system and iodine clock stopping mechanism. “Last year, the AIChE UNM student chapter didn’t even have a Chem-E-Car team. Typically, other schools just refurbish and recycle cars from previous years, so it was a huge accomplishment to have won the regional competition with a car made from scratch,” said David Arnot, UNM AIChE Vice President.
team members
Car team members Ryan Hill (Senior), Derek Nelson (Senior), Forrest Cheek (Senior), Rose Lee (Sophomore), and Rebecca Tafoya (Sophomore) were able to claim the first-place prize in the Chem-E- Car competition and 3rd place prize in the Chem-E-Car poster competition after winning the competition against 13 other cars. Additionally, Angelea Maestas (Senior) claimed her prize in the poster competition for her work under Jeff Brinker on “The Endocytotic Fate of a Mesoporous Silica Supported Lipid Bilayer CRISPR Delivery Vehicle.”
“We really hope that our success will have a positive impact on other UNM students and encourage them to join AIChE for their own benefit,” said Rose Lee, UNM AIChE Student Secretary. The car now qualifies for the national competition in Orlando, Florida, where it will compete with other cars from around the world in November 2019.