Racing towards the finish line: KAIST places 1st at the AIChE Chem-E-Car Competition

KAIST Team Wins the Chem-E-Car Competition in 2016

A KAIST team consisting of four undergraduate students from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering won the Chem-E-Car Competition, which took place on November 13, 2016 at the Union Square in San Francisco. The KAIST team placed 1st out of 41 university teams that participated in this event. The students who participated were Young-Hyun Cha, Jin-Sol Shin, Dae-Seok Oh, and Wan-Tae Kim, and their adviser was Professor Doh Chang Lee from the KAIST CBE Department.

Established in 1999, the Chem-E-Car Competition is an annual worldwide college competition for students majoring in chemical engineering.
The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), founded in 1908, is the world´s leading organization for chemical engineering professionals with more than 50,000 members from over 100 countries and hosts this event every year.

KAIST students competed in the event for the first time in 2014 and placed 28th.. Next year in 2015, the students placed 16th, and finally, took the first place in last year´s competition, with Georgia Institute of Technology taking second place.

The goal of the Chem-E-Car Competition is to design chemically operated, small-scale (20x30x40 cm) automobiles that have the capability to drive down
a wedge-shaped course for a specified distance (15-30 meters). The cars must also hold a payload of 0-500 mL of water during this duration. Finally,
the students are required to present their results in an oral presentation. The organizers tell the participants the exact distance and the amount of payloads one hour prior to the competition. Winners are chosen based on their finishing time and proximity to the finish line.

The KAIST team designed their car to have a stable power output using a Vanadium redox flow battery developed by Professor Hee Tak Kim of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. They employed iodine clock reactions to induce quick and precise chemical reactions to control their car.

KAIST´s car finished with the best run coming within 11 cm of the target line; Georgia Tech´s car reached the finish line by 13 cm and New Jersey Institute of Technology´s car by 14 cm.

Young-Hyun Cha, one of the four students, said, "When we first designed our car, we had to deal with many issues such as stalls or connection errors.
Via trial and error, we continuously worked to fix these problems, eventually leading to success."

For a news article on KAIST´s win at 2016 Chem-E-Car Competition by AIChE, see the link below: