Chemical engineering students earn top honors at regional competition

Published: May 18, 2010
Media Contact: Sally Credille,, 334-844-3447


aiche car team

From left, AIChE car team members (back row) Steven Crace, Davis Bradford, Jordon Tench, John Johnson, (front row) Mieke Groothuizen, Adam Warnke and Jeffrey Taylor.

Members of Auburn University's student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) earned top honors for their outstanding performances at this year's AIChE Southern Regional Competition, held recently at North Carolina State University. The Southern region is comprised of 31 universities.

Auburn's chemical car team finished fifth out of 14 teams, qualifying for the AIChE national competition this fall in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is the fourth time an Auburn chemical car team has earned a spot to compete at nationals. Team members, who built a car powered by a reaction producing carbon dioxide, include captain Steve Crace, John Johnson, Jordon Tench, Jeffrey Taylor, Davis Bradford, Adam Warnke and Mieke Groothuizen. The team is advised by faculty member Mark Byrne, staff adviser Brian Schwieker and graduate student adviser Joshua Jackson.

"Our team did a fantastic job, and we are happy with the results," said Crace. "We are looking forward to competing at the national level."

Sophomore Hunter Rogers and junior David Harris took home top prizes in individual events. Rogers received first place for his poster, "The Effects of Morphology on the Catalytic Activities of Platinum Nanoparticles Synthesized Using Green Chemistry Methods." He is advised by chemical engineering faculty member Chris Roberts and postdoctoral fellow Juncheng Liu. Harris, who is advised by Byrne, earned fourth place for his poster, "Novel Engineering of Drug Eluting Stents." Senior Andrew Klinger, advised by faculty member Steve Duke and Roberts, was awarded third place in section competition for his podium presentation entitled "Budesonide and Ethanol in the Supercritical Antisolvent Precipitation Process."

"Auburn Engineering was well represented at the conference," said Byrne, who also serves as the AIChE student chapter adviser. "The students had outstanding performances and worked hard to achieve this success. The research presentations are the result of many hours in the lab, and the car team built a new car this year and worked very diligently to test it. All the car team members and advisers, especially Brian Schwieker, deserve this recognition."

Contributed by Cassity Hughes