American Institute of Chemical Engineers
American Institute of Chemical Engineers 2018
The Iowa State Chapter of American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) will be traveling to Pittsburgh on Oct. 26-29th for the 2018 National Student Conference. This is a great opportunity to represent Iowa State, and includes many professional development seminars and networking opportunities. Fourteen students from our chapter will be attending the conference for professional development, research presentations, and the ChE Car Competition. Your generosity helps make this trip more affordable for everyone, and is much appreciated. Thank you!
We are happy to announce that the Cy-Onara ChE Car team will be competing at the National Student Conference. After qualifying last spring with a second place finish in the race and a first place win in the poster competition at the regional conference, they have been working hard to prepare the car for this amazing new opportunity. Your support will help us send the car and team to conference and to make some needed improvements to the car. Thank you for your generosity.
Team members (left to right): Thomas Krohn, Francisco Arreola, Grant Johnson, Daniel Dagle
Not pictured: Joseph Musielewicz, Ben Empric, Stephen Richardson
The car is named after our school’s mascot, CY the cyclone, and the word sayonara, Japanese for goodbye.
The car is powered by 16 Peltier thermoelectric plates that create electricity from a temperature gradient. The exothermic reaction between water and calcium oxide produces heat on the inside of the reaction vessel. Ice water cools the other side of the plates. This temperature gradient creates the voltage required to power one motor. We use thermal paste to increase the heat transfer from the reaction vessel to the thermal plates. Heat fins are utilized on the cooling side to maximize convective heat transfer from the plates to the ice water bath.
The stopping mechanism is based on the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide by potassium iodide in a vacuum flask. The oxygen gas produced increases the pressure in a tube connected to the vacuum flask. The level of colored water in the tube rises from the increase in pressure and eventually interrupts a photoresistor, signaling the circuit to cut power to the motor. The other end of the tube leads to a jar open to the atmosphere to prevent excessive pressure buildup and contain water overflow.
The car’s safety features include two secondary containment vessels and a overflow flask to prevent chemical spills. Ventilation for each reaction vessel prevents any pressure build up from water vapor. All electrical and moving parts are covered to reduce risk.
The car’s products are all handled properly to reduce the environmental impact. Many of the products such as potassium iodide, water, and oxygen gas have no environmental concerns. Potassium Iodide does however have health concerns associated with ingestion. Calcium oxide, also known as quick lime, was chosen due to its low environmental impact compared to other exothermic reactants. The product calcium hydroxide, hydrated lime, is slightly corrosive in large quantities and is disposed of properly.
Watch the car stop 0.63m from the finish line!