Power Teams

Aluminum-Air Battery
Project Manager: Srikant Sangireddy & Edward Hsu

Team Members: TBA

al-air

The aluminum air battery is a non-rechargeable battery with a very high energy density. The anode consists of an aluminum sheet, which is separated from the cathode, a carbon paste, via filter paper. The whole cell is wetted with KOH electrolyte. Multiple of these cells are stacked up in series to produce a power output large enough to power the car. Our teams current goals are to explore different anode materials, electrolyte additives and optimizing the gas diffusion layer.

Hydrogen Fuell Cell
Project Manager: Rohit Rungta & Ashutosh Bhadouria

Team Members: TBA

fuelcell

A hydrogen fuel cell converts chemical energy stored by hydrogen fuel into electricity. The two inputs into the hydrogen fuel cell are hydrogen and oxygen. The proposed mechanisms for creating them are outlined below:

      Hydrogen:        Mg(s) → Mg2+(aq) + 2e-                              

      Oxygen:     2H2O2 → O2 + 2H2O                      (Catalyst = MnO 2)

In order to generate electricity, hydrogen atoms enter a fuel cell at the anode where a catalyst strips them of their electrons. The hydrogen atoms are now "ionized," and carry a positive electrical charge. These ionized protons now pass through the proton exchange membrane which permits only the appropriate ions to pass between the anode and cathode. Once the ions pass through the membrane they react with the oxygen to form water, which drains from the cell.

As an added benefit, hydrogen is high in energy and produces almost no pollution (a main reason why it is used as fuel to propel space shuttle and rockets into the orbit). They also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as the only byproduct of the cell is water.

Magnesium-Air Battery
Project Manager: Rosa Zhang & Matthew Moy

Team Members: TBA

mg-air

The Magnesium-Air battery operates with an AZ31 alloy anode, air cathode, and a Magnesium electrolyte compound. The reaction mechanism is:

      Anode:        Mg(s) → Mg2+(aq) + 2e-                               E° = +2.37 V

      Cathode:     O2 (g) + 2H2O(l) + 4e- → 4OH-                      E° = +0.73 V

      Overall:       2Mg(s) + O2 (g) + 2H2O(l) → 2Mg(OH)2(s)     E° = +3.1 V

This year, our team will be focusing on minimizing electrolyte-caused corrosion, improving physical cell structure, and exploring membrane alternatives for oxygen diffusion.

Lead-Acid Battery
Project Managers: Karl Mattsson

Team Members: TBA

lead acid

Our lead-acid battery consists of four cells in series, each with a Pb anode and a PbO2 cathode. The electrolyte, H2SO4, allows the half-cell reactions to occur, which provide the energy needed to drive the car. Our current goals are to determine the optimal weight of the car for the competition, the optimal electrolyte concentration for the battery, and predict after how many runs the battery will start to degrade significantly due to sulfation.

Zinc-Air Battery
Project Managers: Alex Yao

Team Members: TBA

zn-air

The zinc-air battery team has been part of chemE car for several years and performed at both the regional and national competitions. The components of the battery include a zinc anode, a carbon-based cathode that captures oxygen from air, and potassium hydroxide electrolyte. Our main goals for this year include researching and testing new improvements to our battery while focusing on calibration and consistency to excel at competition.

Zinc-Carbon Battery
Project Manager: Declan Mahaffrey-Dowd

Team Members: TBA

zinc-carbon

The zinc-carbon battery is an old, cheap battery chemistry. This battery is based around the basic reaction Zn + MnO2 → ZnO + Mn2O3, but in reality, the reaction gets much more complicated depending on the electrolyte composition and the discharge level. The zinc-air battery team has been part of chemE car for several years and performed at both the regional and national competitions. The components of the battery include a zinc anode, a carbon-based cathode that captures oxygen from air, and potassium hydroxide electrolyte. Our main goals for this year include researching and designing new experiments to improve our battery while focusing on calibration and consistency to excel at competition.



Control Teams

Sulfur Clock
Project Manager: Purvaansh Lohiya & Annai Cuvelier

Team Members: TBA

sulfurclock

Sulfur Clock uses the reaction between sodium thiosulfate and hydrochloric acid to form a sulfur precipate, changing the reacting solution's transparency. While this is one method of experimentation, we will also be testing properties of the reaction. Our goals for the semester are to establish a calibration curve for our reaction, and conduct research on other potential forms of stopping mechanisms.

Electrochemical Clock
Project Manager: Niharika Gupta & Aditya Parekh

Team Members: TBA

A new experimental clock team, electrochemical clock uses an electrochemical biosensor which utilizes immobilized enzymes to sense the presence of a substrate using a redox reaction to produce a current.

Enzymatic Clock
Project Manager: Jason Hou & Chinoros Ruttanasupagid

Team Members: TBA

EnzymaticClock

Our team takes advantage of the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide via the catalase enzyme. This reaction produces oxygen, pushing a dark, viscous fluid through a tube, sending a message to the car to stop once the fluid blocks the photosensor. Catalase is one of the fastest enzyme in nature: One enzyme can decompose over 2 million hydrogen peroxide molecule per second! Our goals for this year is to reduce leaks in our apparatus. We are also exploring other new enzyme-catalyzed reactions that can be used as a stopping mechanism for the car.

Vitamin C Clock
Project Manager: Samantha Yang & Ethan Ngyuen

Team Members: TBA

Vitamin C

The Vitamin C clock reaction is powered by the reaction between vitamin C, iodine, hydrogen peroxide, and starch. This reaction is similar to the one between sodium thiosulfate and iodine, however this reaction uses ascorbic acid to reduce during the redox reaction instead. A product of the reaction is hydriodic acid, which can be oxidized with hydrogen peroxide, creating the clock effect. The presence of starch allows for the change of color when the reaction occurs. Another possibility for this reaction would be to use orange juice and use the color change of orange to black as an indicator of reaction completion. This clock would use a photo sensor that would detect the absence of light and tell the car to stop. Our goal is to create an accurate calibration curve for this reaction mechanism.



Chassis Teams

Electrical
Project Managers: Nicole Stokowski & Mehul Raheja

Team Members: TBA

electrical

The electrical team is the bridge between the chemistry based aspects of the car and the mechanical. The circuit consists of a sensor, which reads inputs provided by the clock teams, and a microcontroller that interprets the data and converts it to voltage signals that will turn on or off the car's motor. Our team is currently working on ways to implement digital data collection for test runs. Our aim is to acquire large sets of pertinent information about the car (ie speed, distance, chemical state of the clock and battery) so that we can create models for the system and be able to better predict the car's performance.

Mechanical
Project Managers: Yu Heng Cheng

Team Members: TBA

Our team focuses on creating a chassis for the chemical teams to use and test for competition. This year we're planning on creating two more competition chassis, as well as two for research and development for various testing purposes. We utilize CAD software, to create models for the chassis as well as containment units for the chemical teams. We also use tools such as laser cutters and 3D printers to fabricate the chassis and various parts for the chassis. We're currently finishing up the two competition chassis and working on fabricating new containment units for the chemical teams.