Car design from Nationals 2016. New design is being finalized.
Running Mechanism: Hydrogen Fuel Cell
Stopping Mechanism: Iodine Clock Reaction
This design uses a hydrogen fuel cell as a power source. Hydrogen is safely delivered into the fuel cell from a balloon at near-atmospheric pressure. They hydrogen in the balloon is made using three electrolyzers in series to separate deionized water into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas. The produced electrical current is applied to a motor, which propels the wheels. The stopping mechanism utilizes an Iodine Clock Reaction that takes place in a vial onboard the car. One side of the vial houses a photodiode, while the other contains an LED light. During the reaction, the solution changes from colorless to dark purple/brown. Once the solution has darkened, the arduino circuit board no longer receives a signal from the LED and the power to the motors is cut, allowing the car to stop. By varying the concentration of the reactants in the vial, the reaction time can be predicted analytically. From knowledge of car velocity as a function of payload, the travel distance can be controlled.
Magic Air Bus
Running Mechanism: Aluminum-Air Battery
Stopping Mechanism: To be determined
This car is an improved design for the 2020 Southern Regional Conference. The Aluminum-Air Battery car will utilize a stack of homemade aluminum-air cells. Prepared before the competition, cells are comprised of one aluminum foil electrode and one carbon-based air electrode separated by filter-paper soaked in a sodium chloride (table salt) solution. Tests are still being conducted to determine the exact size specifications of the car, but early research presents promising results. The enclosure will be designed and 3D printed from a plastic by members of the car team and activated upon competition. This technology was influenced by zinc-air technology, which is used in commercial hearing aid batteries.