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LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Bucknell University student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers will host the 2007 Mid-Atlantic Regional Student Conference April 20-22.

The conference, the first of which Bucknell has hosted in more than a decade, is expected to bring to the Bucknell campus dozens of chemical engineering students from 20 or more campuses in the mid-Atlantic region.

The conference's banquet speaker is Jeffrey Siirola, a technology fellow at Eastman Chemical Co. Siirola is widely known and respected for his contributions in the area of chemical process synthesis and computer-aided process engineering. See schedule for more information.

ChemE Car Competition
In addition to the banquet, conference highlights include research paper and poster competitions, career development assistance, and the popular ChemE Car Competition.

"The ChemE Car Competition is the highlight for many of the students," said Jeffrey Csernica, professor of chemical engineering. "This is the chance to apply classroom theory any creativity to solve real world problems."
 
In the ChemE Car competition, team members design and construct a vehicle that is self-powered through a chemical energy source. The vehicle must complete the task of carrying a specified load for a set given distance.

Presentation and performance
Each team will be judged in two main categories: presentation and performance. The presentation category consists of the presentation of a technical poster about the car and answering any questions the judges may have.  The performance category consists of adjusting the car's chemical and operating parameters to carry a specified load for a set distance.

According to the rules, the teams will be told at the time of the competition the distance that the car must travel and the specified cargo that the vehicle will carry. Entries deemed unsafe by the judges will be disqualified. The winner will be determined by a combined score for traveling the correct distance and for creativity.

Teams compete at the regional conferences, and the top finishers at each regional conference will compete at the national conference in Salt Lake City next fall.

National competition
The national competition is sponsored by General Mills Inc., but prizes for the regional competitions are sponsored by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and presented by the hosting student committees.

Regional first and second prize winners receive $200 and $100, respectively. Regional prize winners compete at the national student conference. National first, second and third prizes will be $2,000, $1,000, and $500, respectively.

For information about the conference and registration, visit the Bucknell spring 2007 conference website. To learn more about the competition and past national winners, visit the ChemE Car Competition website.

Posted March 13, 2007

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