Virginia Tech's Chem-E-Car team earned accolades in the national American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) student event held recently in Atlanta.

The six-member team, comprised of chemical engineering students, won the video competition and finished fourth out of 36 competitors in the vehicle competition. This strong showing follows a first place finish in the Mid-Atlantic regional competition last April.

The vehicle 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 video competition highlights vehicle technology and creativity. Teams representing both national and international colleges and universities competed.

Virginia Tech's team consisted of three seniors: team leader Jessica Kersey, of Gloucester, Virginia; technology leaders Coogan Thompson of Grundy, Virginia, and Avinash Yadav, of Frederick, Maryland; two juniors: Yining Hao, of Chengdu, China, and Tyler Reif, of Reston, Virginia; and one sophomore: Bobby Hollingsworth, of Springfield, Virginia.

The video was produced by Shashwat Sinha, of Roanoke, Virginia, a senior chemical engineering major. Their faculty advisor is Peter B. Rim, the Joseph H Collie Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chemical Engineering.

This is the second year in a row that the Hokies have placed in the regional competition. The team finished second in 2013.

The vehicles are required to be autonomous, travel a prescribed distance, and carry a given weight. The Virginia Tech team creatively implemented an on-board computer control system to manage the vehicle dynamics.

"This was a terrific competition due to the quality and camaraderie of the competitors and was especially exciting as the Hokies were the leader through most of the competition," Rim said.

The team acknowledged the alumni support of Steve Cope of Exxon-Mobil, who provided funding for the project, and of Joe Collie, who founded the Collie Professorship.

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