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

And it’ll never rust….

20131107-083957.jpg20131107-084007.jpg

3D printing company Solid Concepts announced it has manufactured the world’s first 3D Printed Metal Gun using a laser sintering process and powdered metals.
The gun, a 1911 classic design, has already handled 50 rounds of successful firing. It is composed of 33 17-4 Stainless Steel and Inconel 625 components, and decked with a Selective Laser Sintered (SLS) carbon-fiber filled nylon hand grip.

at 3ders.org

Nanotechnology steps up for the big screens

Tech Radar UK blog/magazine: The future of touchscreens revealed: bigger, cheaper, bendier
IN DEPTH Silver is becoming the gold standard for touchscreen technology20130818-161523.jpg

The mesh of tiny silver nanowires, head on and at an angle (very much magnified)

Because it’s flexible it can be roll to roll printed and the silver nanowire ink can be printed to final patern which will enable rapid cost reduction and new options. Cool stuff.20130818-161939.jpg

After the plastic has been sprayed with the nanowires and dried in an oven, the machine rolls it up again

WIRED, way, way weird, and oh so cool!

Wired: ‘Holographic Duality’ Hints at Hidden Subatomic World
20130709-191214.jpg

The holographic duality, discovered in 1997 by Juan Maldacena, says that events inside a region of space that involve gravity and are described by string theory are mathematically equivalent to events on the surface of that region that involve particles and are gravity-free. Illustration: Annenberg Lerner 2013

20130709-191624.jpg

In the mathematical parlance of the holographic duality, certain strongly correlated matter in 2-D [such as in cuprate hi temp superconductors shown above; editors note] corresponds, in 3-D, to a black hole — an infinitely dense object with an inescapable gravitational pull, which is mathematically simple. “These very complicated quantum mechanical collective effects are beautifully captured by black hole physics,” said Hong Liu, an associate professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “For strongly correlated systems, if you put an electron into the system, it will immediately ‘disappear’ — you can no longer track it.” It’s like an object falling into a black hole.

Building with wood on a Major Scale

20130622-180708.jpgShiver me timbers. Architects plan wood skyscraper for resident life
Jun 21, 2013 by Nancy Owano

The wooden skyscraper is gaining attention as “green” news because of the wood factor proposed. A number of points in wood’s favor: C. F. Møller’s team noted how timber production releases less carbon dioxide than steel or concrete production, at a time where construction accounts for 30 to 40 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide generated from humans. Concrete and steel command a large part of the market, but wood-supporters note that wood is a lightweight, renewable material that can bear heavy loads in relation to its weight.

In general, the word “wood” makes some people nervous because of fears of fire. Architects who favor wood, however, argue that wood is safer than other types of building materials and can be more fire resistant than both steel and concrete. Earlier this year, an article in the Toronto Sun took note of what Geoff Triggs, building code consultants expert, had to say about the use of wood in high-rise construction. Rather than using small two-by-fours super-compressed mass timber is used to make very large panels. The compressed lumber is as strong as concrete but lighter. The compression process creates dense wood blocks that are difficult to burn.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-06-timbers-architects-wood-skyscraper-resident.html#jCp

3D printing antennas, is seen replacing conventional tech in production

20130601-225258.jpg

According to Optomec, Aerosol Jet printing utilizes aerodynamic focusing to precisely deposit nanomaterials to produce fine feature circuitry and embedded components without the use of masks or patterns. The resulting functional electronics can have line widths and pattern features ranging from 10’s of microns to centimeters.

Read more at: http://www.3ders.org/articles/20130531-optomec-is-3d-printing-antennas.html
The combination of 3D printing and Materials Technology, particularly the ‘nanoscale’ materials or the materials we now understand at atomic scale, is changing the world more quickly than some see. It is not always obvious because in the end the devices are not that different than what came before, just better, smaller, longer lasting, stronger, etc. over a relatively short time it is amazing what small increments of change, multiplied by thousands of applications and dozens of iterations, can build up to.

Multi material 3D printing // The Engineer

20130529-214546.jpg

Kinda creepy actually.

…multi-material 3D printing aims to address inefficiencies by reducing the number of manufacturing steps for one object. Compared with single material 3D printing, it allows a functional product to be created with different properties without the need to bring together components. It increases speed to market by allowing organisations to prototype increasingly complex parts and reduces waste products by using exactly the right amount of material required.

Read more: http://www.theengineer.co.uk/channels/design-engineering/in-depth/the-rise-of-multi-material-3d-printing/1016242.article#ixzz2Ujj5QP00

3rd Power Law, 0 Complexity premium, working memes for 3D Printing

20130528-112826.jpg

A 3-D printed table … with holes and all. Photo: rosemarybeetle / Flickr

WIRED http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/05/an-insiders-view-of-the-hype-and-realities-of-3-d-printing/

3-D printing is indeed an important fabrication technology, because it has the marvelous ability to make anything regardless of the complexity of the form.

BUT

Everything from cost and time to amount of material increases exponentially: specifically, to the third power. So if we want something twice as big, it will cost 8 times as much and take 8 times as long to print. If we want something three times as big, it will cost about 27 times more and takes 27 times longer to print. And so on.

Love simplifying memes, these are two great ones that help the mind focus on the issues involved when ‘discussions’ dealing with potentials are taking place.

Also in the article:
The reminder that these are not replicators, not yet anyway.

AND

That many of the technologies enabling 3D printing are enabling CNC machining, laser-cutting, robotics and more, at DIY / hobbyist scale.