The Alabama Chem-E Car Team is a club that designs then builds, from scratch, a miniature car that performs all of its functions from chemical reactions. The Chem-E car competition offers an experience that forces the team to factor in certain aspects that one could expect any chemical engineer to worry about: design, economics, safety, and communication. In fact, the team has to prove the car’s safety before it is even given a chance to compete. When the team earns the right to compete their car, “Chem-E Chimes,” in competitions. Performance is measured by the car’s ability to perform tasks with as much accuracy as possible.
The club doesn’t just provide its members with a unique opportunity to functionally use chemical engineering. There are real-world applications to be gleaned throughout the experience. Although the members of the Chem-E car team probably won’t end up racing tiny chemical cars for a living, the Chem-E car team can prepare these young engineering students for any future project. The club president Ryan Brightwell says, “the value of Chem-E car is ultimately in the experience” and “the end result is something to be proud of.”