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Chemical engineering majors Elli Brna (from left) Jack Kilduff, Ethan Kutner and Brandon Hudson competed in the ChemE Sports spring competition with teammates (not pictured) Avery Baker and Nitin Elavarasu.

The University of Virginia Department of Chemical Engineering fielded two teams in the recent ChemE Sports spring competition, and both finished with impressive performances.

The team of fourth-year Brandon Hudson, third-year Ethan Kutner and second-year Avery Baker placed third among a total of 17 teams, while fourth-year Jack Kilduff, first-year Elli Brna and second-year Nitin Elavarasu finished in sixth place.

Professors Eric Anderson and George Prpich coached the teams.

ChemE-Sports is a simulation-based competition hosted by PetroSkills twice a year – each coinciding with American Institute of Chemical Engineers events, the organization’s annual meeting in the fall and regional student conferences held in the spring. This spring’s virtual competition occurred during the mid-Atlantic region’s student conference and drew participants from around the world.

During the competitions, teams work together on a plant operation task, such as separating chemical compounds using a distillation column, all the while reacting to programmed failures in the system, such as pump failures or steam valves shutting off. Teams earn points for producing the most product that meets purity specifications while minimizing the number of alarms and time in alarms.

“ChemE Sports competitions are great events for chemical engineering majors across all four years to get together and practice weekly for a competition that enhances knowledge in industrial operations and safety in the chemicals industry,” Kilduff said. “The competition was quite a lot of fun this year, and the team is looking forward to next fall!”