Members of Auburn University's American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) student chapter earned top honors at this year's AIChE Southern Regional Competition, held recently at Georgia Tech.
Auburn's chemical car team finished fifth out of 20 teams, qualifying for the AIChE national competition this fall in Minneapolis, Minn. It is the fifth time an Auburn chemical car team has earned a spot to compete at nationals. The team also received fourth place in the regional car team poster competition. Team members, who built a car powered by a reaction producing carbon dioxide, include captain Mieke Groothuizen, Andrew Jones, Josh Boor, Allison Glasscock, Brett Mallinak and Ben Todd. The team is advised by faculty member Mark Byrne, who is the Daniel F. and Josephine Breeden associate professor in the department, and staff adviser Brian Schwieker.
Kayla Pate, senior in chemical engineering, received third place in the overall conference section out of 25 presenters, and first place in her section for her podium presentation, "Controlled and Extended Release of Anti-inflammatory from Daily Wear Soft Contact Lenses,"' in the paper competition. She is advised by Byrne. Pate is the third student in the department to earn first prize in the overall regional conference competition.
David Harris, also a senior in chemical engineering who is advised by Byrne, received second place in his section for his presentation, "Poly(ethylene glycol) Based Films for Controlled Release From Drug Eluting Stents." Hunter Rogers, junior in chemical engineering, received third place for his presentation, "The Effects of Morphology on the Catalytic Activity of Platinum Nanoparticles Synthesized Using Green Chemistry Methods." He is advised by Christopher Roberts, Uthlaut professor and chair of the department.
"Once again, our students did very well in the research competition and the car competition, adding to our very successful history of undergraduate success in these areas," said Byrne.
In the past 10 years, Auburn chemical engineering students have won a number of research awards at AIChE competitions, including 16 podium presentation or paper awards and 13 poster awards. Twice since 2006, Auburn students have won the national undergraduate research award.
AIChE is the world's leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, with more than 40,000 members from 93 countries. The Southern region includes 31 universities.