UNH Advances to Nationals of Chem-E-Car Competition
UNH Advances to Nationals of Chem-E-Car Competition

by John A. Lahtinen
Communications and Public Affairs Writer/Editor

A team of UNH engineering students recently captured second place at the Northeast regional of the Chem-E-Car competition.

The event was part of the Northeast Regional Student Conference hosted by the University of Massachusetts Amherst chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.  

The team, which includes Kayla FitzGerald ’14, of Lunenburg, Mass., Mina Elias ’13, of Abu Dhabi, Jeffrey Parsons ’16 of Southington, Conn., and David Dupont ’15, of Wynantskill, N.Y., now advances to the national competition to be held in San Francisco Nov. 3-8 during the 2013 annual meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Chem-E-Car team members (left to right) Kayla FitzGerald '14, Mina Elias '13, Jeffrey Parsons '16 and David Dupont '15.

“We support the many extracurricular activities of students so that they can apply their skills outside the classroom and further develop their leadership, teamwork, project management and technical skills,” said Ron Harichandran, dean of the Tagliatela College of Engineering. “We salute the success of the Chem-E-Car team. It will provide inspiration to other student teams to also strive for excellence.”

The Chem-E-Car competition requires teams to construct a self-propelled, chemically powered vehicle that travels a preset distance while carrying a predetermined cargo. Teams are not told the distance that the car must travel and the specified cargo that the vehicle will carry until the competition begins. 

“Each school gets two runs to reach the decided distance,” said FitzGerald, a double major in chemistry and chemical engineering. “After our first run, we were in fifth place. We knew the minor details that needed to be adjusted so that we could place. After those adjustments, our car stopped close enough to the distance that we placed.

“Advancing to nationals, knowing all of the hard work our four-member team put into the competition, is an extremely satisfying feeling,” FitzGerald said. “We are ecstatic that all of our hard work paid off.”

Arthur Gow, associate professor of chemical engineering, serves as the team’s faculty advisor.

The UNH team also placed third in the poster competition associated with the Chem-E-Car event.

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