KFUPM on Preparing for the Chem-E-Car Competition [Interview]

Every year, Chem-E-Car teams from around the world travel to AIChE's Annual Student Conference to compete in the Chem-E-Car Competition®. At the 2017 ASC, a team from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in Saudi Arabia traveled to compete in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. KFUPM team members shared their experiences in an interview with the Executive Student Committee. Select answers are featured below.

How did your Chem-E-Car team get started?

The first Chem-E-Car team at KFUPM was started in 2014. A student who was a member of Chem-E-Car team at another university in the US brought the idea of the project first to Dr. Basim Abusaud, who is a faculty professor at KFUPM Chemical Engineering Department. Dr. Abusaud liked the project and made the establishment of the first team possible by fulfilling all requirements and paperwork with KFUPM administration along with Dr. Ba-Shammakh, the chemical engineering department chair.

How is your Chem-E-Car team structured?

The team consists of three sub teams: Powering team, stopping mechanism team, and design team. The power team’s job is to find a reliable chemical reaction that can produce power or fuel which is further used to power the car. The stopping mechanism team's task is to create an accurate stopping method that accounts for the distance range and the variable weight on the vehicle. The design team oversees fitting all power and stopping equipment into a good-looking car and facilitates different functionality requirements inside the body. Each of the three sub teams has a group leader and the entire team has a captain who is also a member

of one of the three sub teams. The group captain reports to the chapter advisor and the department chair.

How did you come up with the name for your 2017 Chem-E-Car?

Sadeem V4 as the name implies is the fourth KFUPM Chem-E-Car. All the previous versions had the same name Sadeem. This is because the naming of the first car was at the time when Dr. Abusaud named his newborn daughter Sadeem. The team members then decided to give the car the same name which was their way to show their appreciation for the efforts Dr. Abusaud paid to make the Chem-E-Car dream possible. Sadeem means space dust in Arabic.

How is your Chem-E-Car funded?

The team is funded by KFUPM and Chemical Engineering Department.

What did you learn from your experience competing at the Annual Student Conference?

Well, a lot! Valuable lessons and information such as sportsmanship, cooperation, hard work, marketing skills, presentation skills, and chemical engineering technology trends and connections.

What would you tell an AIChE Chapter that is interested in competing in Chem-E-Car?

Building a Chem-E-Car is a very exciting and creative task. However, to start a Chem-E-Car project, chapters must have a place (laboratory) and funds. Having a lab and resources (such as money, chemicals, and tools) is the first building block of a Chem-E-Car project, and when a chapter possesses these two requirements they are ready to form a team and start building their vehicles. The Chem-E-Car Competition® is a great opportunity for undergraduate students to spend their free time on something fun, challenging, creative, and productive.

What advice do you have for other Chem-E-Car teams?

​The greatest advice we can think of is having a homogeneous team. The chemistry between the team members is a critical factor that directly affects the productivity of the team. From experience, KFUPM’s team with the best performance in the international competition is the team with the best chemistry among its members.

You can read more about the 2017 ASC Chem-E-Car Competition® in Sarah Ewing's ChEnected recap.