Batteries Batteries Batteries 

A good artcle on batteries in Power Electronics, triggered by  the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Debacle, and the not to distant past mess with the ‘hover board’ craze. The article links to a pretty detailed recent study of coming high power density battery technologies.   

The eMagazine http://www.powerelectronicsnews.com/ is a good source on power electronics across the power and technology range. A good way to keep up on a rapidly changing field.

The article talks about a variety of battery chemistries including sodium as shown in the following graphic.

An enormous variety of sodium-ion battery variations are being considered by researchers worldwide as surveyed here regarding their operation voltages versus specific capacities for cathode materials (a) and anode materials (b) in order to find a combination that make them competitive with Li-ion. SOURCE: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

However the main reason I show this graphic is the incredible density of information that the graphic data presenter/artist at Macmillan Publishers was able to insert into a relatively small and simple chart. For me as a technologist this gives me the ability to data dive and compare and contrast very quickly when considering alternatives. My experience in buying reports or data repositiories of one sort or another is that the quality of this sort of chart is key to the value of the document

Interesting, a wind jammer for the 21st century

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The Norwegian Vindskip design from Lade AS uses a specially shaped hull to capture the wind and convert it into forward motion.

Natural gas fired Gas Turbines to get wind speed on the right ‘quarter’ and the combined wind speed provides a boost to get up to 60% fuel savings. All very well till you get in a real blow, it does look like it’ll be a bit of a handful in bad weather, it has big stabilizers like a sailing yacht so maybe it’ll work…anyway it’ll be a figment of computer simulation sthen tank testing for a few years yet.

Build your own device Motorola’s (Google’s) next cell phone play

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Motorola has announced a free open hardware platform for smartphones called “Project Ara.” The goal is to create a modular smartphone that would allow users to swap hardware components at will. Motorola says it wants to “do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software: create a vibrant third-party developer ecosystem, lower the barriers to entry, increase the pace of innovation, and substantially compress development timelines.”

looks cool seems reasonable for the large geek, nerd, techie, metro, hip, individualist, contingents out there. Making it rugged and relatively ‘duh’ proof will be a challenge.

Too quiet to be a race car

Do we really go to the races for the visceral shiver a race car’s engine can give you, the aching memory frisson that the stink of castrol can trigger?
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Formula One dominator Sebastian Vettel gave short shrift Saturday to the new, electric Formula E series, saying it would be far too quiet and was “not the future”.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-10-vettel-formula-future.html#jCp

SpaceX, first try at a return much closer to a success than a failure!

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Falcon 9 first stage burns an engine during a controlled descent to the Pacific Ocean. (Credit: SpaceX)

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Falcon 9 first stage in a controlled descent toward the Pacific Ocean. At this point, the stage was about 3 meters (9.8 feet) above the water. (Credit: SpaceX)

“SpaceX then lit the center engine for a single engine burn. That relight also went well, however we exceeded the roll control authority of the attitude control thrusters. This particular stage was not equipped with landing gear which could have helped stabilize the stage like fins would on an aircraft. The stage ended up spinning to a degree that was greater than we could control with the gas thrusters on board and ultimately we hit the water relatively hard.

from the picture above it looks like it came pretty damn close! WOW!

Cygnus docking signals another major eSpace success on the same day!

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An Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo ship reached the International Space Station early Sunday and was captured by the lab’s robot arm. The successful rendezvous marked a major milestone for NASA and a program to fund development of commercial cargo carries to replace capacity lost with the space shuttle’s retirement. (Credit: NASA TV)