YSU Chem-E-Car team beats Big 10 schools, advances to nationals

Members of YSU's Chem-E-Car team at the University of Illinois competition are, from the left, Diana Konik, Bridger Kowalczyk, Jason White, Nicole Abate, Alex Lincoln, Michael Maravola and Chris Rudzinskas.

Members of YSU’s Chem-E-Car team at the University of Illinois competition are, from the left, Diana Konik, Bridger Kowalczyk, Jason White, Nicole Abate, Alex Lincoln, Michael Maravola and Chris Rudzinskas. Maravola is holding the car.

A team of Youngstown State University students bested teams from universities across the Midwest and placed second at the regional Chem-E-Car contest in Illinois.

The team is now eligible to compete at the national tournament in Utah.

In all, the competition at the University of Illinois featured 15 teams from universities throughout the Midwest, including many from Big 10 schools. Among the schools that YSU bested were University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin. The University of Cincinnati team placed first.

Members of the YSU team are Alexandra Lincoln of Magnolia, Ohio, Nicole Abate of Hermitage, Pa., Diana Konik of Canfield, Ohio, Christopher Rudzinskas of Pittsburgh, Jason White of McDonald, Ohio, Michael Maravola of Hillsville, Pa., Bridger Kowalczyk of Warren, Ohio, Samuel Faykus of Bellaire, Ohio, and and Josh Bilger of Girard, Ohio.

Chem-E-Car is a competition hosted by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in which college students design and construct a small car powered by a chemical energy source.

Holly Martin, YSU assistant professor of Chemical Engineering and advisor to the students, said a chemical reaction is required to make the car run, with another chemical reaction required to make the car stop.

YSU's Chem-E-Car team gets ready for the competition. From the left are Alex Lincoln, Michael Maravola, Bridger Kowalcyzk, Chris Rudzinskas, Jason White and Diana Konik. Taking the photo is team member Nicole Abate.

YSU’s Chem-E-Car team gets ready for the competition. From the left are Alex Lincoln, Michael Maravola, Bridger Kowalcyzk, Chris Rudzinskas, Jason White and Diana Konik. Taking the photo is team member Nicole Abate.

The YSU car was 3-D printed in the form of a truck. The cab of the truck carried a water container, as required in the competition. The team used a penguin to cap the water container and “drive” the vehicle.

Martin said the car was powered by a zinc-carbon dry-cell battery and stopped by an iodine clock reaction that turned dark after a certain amount of time, based on concentration, turning off the laser and breaking the circuit. The car then coasted until it came to a stop, approximately 0.43 meters past the announced 16-meter distance.

The YSU team was sponsored by Vallourec, Delphi and YSU Student Government Association, which provided monetary support. CIAM designed and 3-D printed the car and the water container. Michael Crescimanno, professor of Physics and Astronomy, assisted the team with circuitry. Tim Styranec with the YSU Office of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety assisted with chemical ordering and shipping, while John Dodson and Larry Davis assisted with car modification and build.

YSU will now compete at the national tournament in November in Salt Lake City.