Virginia Tech's Chem-E-Car team earned first place in the 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineering student event held recently at the University of Virginia.  

This competition tests the ability of the undergraduate team to design, build, and control a vehicle that is both powered and stopped by a chemical reaction.

The challenge of the competition is to have an autonomous vehicle travel a prescribed distance and carry a given weight, both variables that are provided only one hour prior to the competition.

"The precision the team exhibited was remarkable given all of the chemical reaction variables they needed to manage," said Peter Rim, the Joseph H Collie Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chemical Engineering who serves as the team's faculty adviser.

"The team had the best two runs of the day, reflective of a high level of knowledge and preparation," Rim added.

Seventeen teams representing 15 other prestigious universities competed.  This is the second straight year that the Virginia Tech Hokies have placed in the competition; they finished second in 2013.  

The team will head to the national competition in Atlanta in November 2014.

Virginia Tech's team consisted of two seniors: team leader Meredith Cook, of Fort Worth, Texas, and Amy Wang, of Chantilly, Va.; two juniors: Coogan Thompson, of Grundy, Va., and Jessica Kersey, of Gloucester, Va.; one sophomore: Yining Hao, of Chengdu, China; and one freshman: Bobby Hollingsworth, of Springfield, Va. All are chemical engineering majors.

The team received alumni support from Steve Cope of Exxon-Mobil, who provided funding for the project, and Joseph Collie, who funded the Collie Professorship.

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