Qatar University (QU) chemical engineering teams AlBarQ (female) and Al Annabi Group (male) placed first and second respectively in their category last Saturday at the closing ceremony of the recent ChemE Car Competition.
Tariq Bin Ziyad Independent Secondary School and Jassim bin Hamad Independent Secondary School were named first and second place winners in their category.
The competition was organized by QU College of Engineering (CENG) Department of Chemical Engineering in collaboration with its AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers) student chapter and sponsored by OryxGTL Qatar. It was the first time for the competition to be held in Qatar – being a competition held annually by the AIChE for undergraduate chemical engineering students in the US.
Three other teams from the college — OryxQ, OryxLeap, Pearl — and 4 other high school teams participated in the competition.
The department’s aim was to encourage creativity and innovation among its students and also to reach out high school students to motivate them towards studies in chemical engineering.
The competition required participants to design and race a small car that is operated through chemical processes and carrying a load of water (0-500g) for a distance of between 15-30 meters. Teams were given information of the load amount and distance about 2 hours before the competition.
In the lead-up to the competition that started in January this year, the high school teachers were oriented on competition requirements, provided safety training, and worked collaboratively with university personnel at the QU laboratory facilities. Competition organizers in turn visited the high schools in February to follow up on their progress and respond to questions and concerns.
CENG dean Dr Khalifa Al-Khalifa applauded the effort and support the principals and teachers provided their students, noting that the competition is part of the College’s ongoing activities to promote STEM subjects and engineering majors among secondary school students. “We look forward to making this an annual event on the CENG calendar”, he said.
Oryx GTL chief QHSE officer Mr Mohamed Al-Enazi said that the event is part of ORYX GTL CSR, and aims, through this support, to participate in the process of refining the talents and developing the skills of chemical engineering students at Qatar University. “It is also an opportunity to encourage more students in high school to study chemical engineering and join oil & gas companies in the future, in particular ORYX GTL, the pioneer in GTL technology”, he added.
Department head Prof Ramazan Kahraman said: “By including high school students in this university event, we aimed to expose them to the engineering experience and spirit of innovation to motivate them towards becoming the next generation of engineers”.
Sarah Shahid from AlBarQ said: “It was a thrilling experience knowing that we were competing with some of the best chemical engineers in the University. One of the major skills that we gained from this competition was how to tackle unexpected problems under time constraints. We owe our success to our professors and the department for their encouragement and support.”
Her colleague Waad Elamin said: “Despite the obstacles we have faced, the team kept fighting to the end and the outcome was better than anything we could have imagined.”
The male team conceded that while they did not place first, they gained experience in working under pressure, teamwork skills, fighting to the last moment, believing in their abilities and never giving up.