February 08, 2013

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. Twenty-three Bucknell chemical engineering students traveled to Pittsburgh in October for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) national meeting. The Bucknell student chapter was an official co-host of the associated student conference, with responsibilities for event scheduling and logistics.

Twelve students made formal presentations on their Bucknell independent research projects, in either oral symposia or poster sessions. In the judged student poster competition, sophomore Anna Maassel received first place in the Food, Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology Division for "Effects of Pharmaceutical Excipients on Particle Crystallization", and junior Brian Lynch received second place in the Sustainability Division for "The Effect of Rare Earth Metal-Doped TiO2 on Photovoltaic Cell Performance."

The Air Products-sponsored Bucknell "ChemE Car" team once again qualified for competition at this annual meeting. This year's shoebox-sized car was powered by a proton exchange membrane fuel cell, using generated hydrogen for fuel. The stopping mechanism made use of a reaction that produced carbon dioxide gas, which filled a syringe and pushed its plunger in order to engage an electrical shut-off switch. The team finished 13th nationally, with scores based on car performance and design presentation to judges.

Fifty teams compete at this national level, with many more at the preceding regional sites. "It has been exciting not only to compete with our novel cars but to experience the innovation and creativity that comes from the group," said senior Megan Wilson, who has been a member of the team since 2010.

Students also networked with department alumni, friends and faculty at the chemical engineering department reception, held at Pittsburgh's Sharp Edge Bistro. Despite effects from Tropical Storm Sandy (which delayed students' return to Lewisburg by one day), many local alumni were able to attend, with total attendees numbering over 75.

Chemical engineering students and the ChemE Car team will attend the Student Mid-Atlantic Regional AIChE conference, to be held in April at Rutgers University.




ChemE Car team members Katherine Wiley '14, Alyssa Whittington '14, Ellie Buenning '13, Jayne Beckmann '14, and Alex Barteau '13

Contact: Division of Communications