Our 2011-2012 car design will utilize a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Hydrogen Fuel Cell Stack to supply power to a small electric motor.  Hydrogen and oxygen are supplied to each of our five fuel cells.  The anode breaks hydrogen down into a proton and electron.  The PEM allows the proton to pass through while forcing the electrons to travel outside of the cell.  A small tank on the car will supply enough hydrogen to the hydrogen fuel cell to run the car for at least two minutes.  To increase the reaction rate, and therefore the power available to run an electric motor, we have two, high powered computer fans forcing more oxygen molecules to come into contact with the cathodes of each fuel cell.  Be sure to check back later to see pictures of our originally designed wind tunnels to optimize air movement efficiency.

Our design will rely on an iodine clock reaction to obtain the desired distance.  This unique reaction starts by mixing two clear solutions together.  The solution suddenly turns a dark blue color at a certain time.  By changing the concentration of the hydrogen peroxide we can control the timing of our iodine clock reaction.  A voting system composed of three photo resistors on one side of the reaction vessel will sense when the solution turns dark by reading the amount of light (from an LED) that passes through the vessel.  Once the sensor no longer detects light, it will cause our car to quit running.  Be sure to check back soon for pictures of our Iodine Clock Reaction Vessel and Secondary Containment Vessel.  To minimize size and weight, younger members developed an innovative solution mixing system.

Iodine Clock Reaction

Hydrogen Fuel Cell

3 I-(aq) + H202 + 2 H+ (aq) = I3- (aq) + 2 H20 (l)

I3- (aq)  +  2 S2O3 2- (aq) =  3 I- (aq)  +  S4O6 2- (aq)

2 I3- (aq) + starch  =  starch-I5- complex  +  I- (aq)

Description: http://z.about.com/d/chemistry/1/G/x/x/1iodineclock1.jpg

There are many challenges and obstacles the ChE Car team will have to overcome to develop this design into a working vehicle that can accurately achieve a range of distances with different amounts of liquid weight.    We have a large group of motivated members this year who are anxious to solve some of these difficult engineering problems.

2011 Car Design