Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2014

Degree Type



Chemical Engineering

Director of Thesis

Thomas Stanford

First Reader

Jochen Lauterbach


Six chemical engineering undergraduates at the University of South Carolina formed a team to compete in the 2014 AIChE Chem-E-Car competition at the Southern Regional Student Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in March. In the Chem-E-Car competition, students must design and build a vehicle powered by an unconventional form of chemical energy to carry a specified weight over a given distance (1). The group used knowledge gained through undergraduate study to construct a small-scale vehicle that is powered by a set of thermoelectric generators utilizing a heat gradient between boiling water and an ethanol-dry ice mixture (2). An iodine clock reaction is used in conjunction with photoresistors and an Arduino microcontroller to stop the car after the reaction goes to completion. The group had a successful run at the regional competition in Puerto Rico, earning first place in the research poster competition and fourth place in the performance competition. The group was selected as one of five teams to advance to the national competition held at the AIChE Annual Meeting in November 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.