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Students, faculty and staff take part in Engineers Week

Vehicles were driving up to 56 mph inside the WVU Engineering Sciences Building Tuesday afternoon.

They were on a track and they were CO2 cars.

The CO2 Dragster Race was part of this year’s Engineers Week competitions.

WVU Statler College students, faculty and staff were invited to participate.

Sponsored by the WVU Lane Innovation Hub, participants used supplied kits of a wood block, axle and wheels, along with their engineering and manufacturing knowledge to build a mini-CO2 dragster.

CO2 cartridges were handed out before the competition and cars raced down a straight track. It was an elimination event, with winners moving on to compete until just one car remained.

CO2 cars are propelled by carbon dioxide rapidly escaping from the cartridge, which is positioned in the car so that the escaping gas moves rearward, pushing the vehicle forward.

According to a STEM activities for kids website, the top speed for such a vehicle 56 mph and races typically take just seconds to conclude.

Competitions continue with a Pinewood Derby Friday in the Atrium of the Engineering Sciences Building.

Mountaineer Area Council Pack 64 of the Boy Scouts of America donated the track and software and will be onsite to help with the derby.