Tech Tuesday 10/10/17 – Electric Boogaloo Edition

Another two weeks, another span of lots of incremental stories, without much in the way of breakthroughs. If this keeps up, I’m gonna have to expand my sources pool.

Aerospace

AERO1 – Electric airliners are going to be a thing, it would seem.

AERO2 – Finding places on the moon to live.

AERO3 – What happens when two giant pools of suck collide?

AERO4 – China is taking to air and sea to launch rockets.

AERO5 – Google wants to put high altitude balloons with cell tower payloads over Puerto Rico until they get their cell network back up and running.  I could see something like this being part of a disaster recovery plan.  Once the storm or earthquake is over, if enough towers are down to represent big dead zones, the balloons go up until the towers are back in place.

AERO6 – The UAVs are mildly interesting, but the demo video looks like something straight out of a $5 bargain bin video game.

Bio/Medical

BIO1 – Honey, can you print me an aspirin?

BIO2 – Bio-informative tattoos.

BIO3 – I’m not a fan of Green Tea, but I do love black tea, so this is good news for me.

BIO4 – A new test can reveal if your infection is an antibacterial resistant strain in 30 minutes, which will help doctors get you on the proper course of treatment that much faster.

BIO5 – I’ve seen ‘glues’ like this before, but 60 seconds is pretty darn quick.  Especially if it is UV reactive instead of exothermic like Quik Clot.

BIO6 – A universal Flu Vaccine is getting field tested in the UK.  If successful, it would make preparing for the annual flu outbreaks more straightforward.

Energy

ENRG1 – I would really want to see a seriously scaled up version of this before I buy into the idea.

ENRG2 – Olive oil waste to fuel and fertilizer.

ENRG3 – Improve the charge time of your lithium ion batteries by adding a bit of asphalt (and I don’t mean adding asphalt by throwing the battery out the car window).

ENRG4 – Toshiba thinks it has a new battery that triples the capacity of it’s predecessor and can still hit 90% charge in 5-6 minutes.

Materials

MAT1 – Finally, the end of the plight of the Great Northern Nauga is finally in sight.

MAT2 – Using lasers to shape graphene sheets into 3D structures.

Technology

TECH1 – I get what they are doing, but I have no idea how they are doing it.

TECH2 – Origami robot tentacles.  I expect we’ll be seeing more applications of folding techniques like this.  Buckminster Fuller was a man far ahead of his time.

TECH3 – It’s not exactly a Universal Translator, but it’s a step closer.

Weird, Wacky, and Wonderful

WWW1 – This video hits all my geek buttons.  Firearms, combustion, acoustics, fluid dynamics, materials science, and engineering failures captured in high speed!  Make sure to watch to the end, when one of the cans just shatters.

 

See Through Suppressor in Super Slow Motion (110,000 fps) – Smarter Every Day 177

WWW2 – Late add – Lifting the USS McCain onto the Treasure.  Treasure is a salvage ship that can ballast down deep enough that a damaged ship can be towed over the cargo deck.  The Treasure then de-ballasts and lifts the destroyer up out of the water for transport.

 

 

 

Image by Schill


Associate Editor

A Navy Turbine Tech who learned to spin wrenches on old cars, Oscar has since been trained as an Engineer & Software Developer & now writes tools for other engineers. When not in his shop or at work, he can be found spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, kayaking, gaming, or whatever strikes his fancy & fits in the budget. ...more →

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9 thoughts on “Tech Tuesday 10/10/17 – Electric Boogaloo Edition

  1. “AERO1 – Electric airliners are going to be a thing, it would seem.”

    The plan for exactly how the planes will work depends on advances in battery technology. If batteries get a lot better in the next decade it will go all-electric — and if they don’t, it will use a hybrid system similar to a Chevy Volt. Last year Boeing and Airbus sold 967 planes in the 737 style at about $90 million each. Even replacing a fraction of that market could be a big opportunity.

    So, it would seem, a big maybe

    Plus…

    We suggest high-energy-density batteries for aviation! Each large electric plane may need several megawatt hours of batteries. Add in the rise in drones, and it’s a big market.

    If you know of battery scientists exploring this space, feel to reach out to us.

    (emphasis in the original)

    …the thing they need to most to succeed, the thing that’s their critical path – they’re not actually working on.

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    • And 10 years ago, it wasn’t even a maybe. Like, not even on anyone’s radar. 10 years ago, electric aircraft were limited to small drones and some crazy lightweight x-planes. Now the energy density of batteries is getting high enough that people are seriously thinking about it. I mean, look at ENRG3.

      Additionally, when we were kicking the idea around at Boeing, every iteration was a turboprop style (electric motors spinning eggbeater props). It sounds like these guys are shooting for something closer to a turbofan (although looking at the images, perhaps it would be multistage ducted fans?).

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      • Fair enough. My other criticism is that they are trying to break into the short haul air travel market, the most “commodified” form of air travel, as I see it, and one that depends heavily (as I understand it) on quick plane turnaround times for its economic viability.

        So the problem isn’t just sufficient energy density to get airborne, it’s how quick (either due ot charging or cell swap outs) you can get up to full stored energy.

        (e.g. remember this)

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        • That would be ENRG4, Toshiba’s latest fast-charge battery. Although I’m not sure I want to be anywhere close to the kinds of DC currents that would be involved in charging the battery pack for an airliner in six minutes.

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        • I am betting the first generation of electric airliners will be some kind of hybrid. Even if you do have quick recharge on the batteries without DC current sufficient to cook your eyeballs from 10 paces, a hybrid setup just offers a nice way to have some backup energy in case something goes wrong. I don’t even think it’ll necessarily be a technical issue, but a regulatory and logistics one. The FAA & their counterparts around the world will probably just feel a lot better issuing type certs if the plane has a backup generator, and it’ll take time for every airport to have the kinds of electrical infrastructure in place to charge an airliners batteries, but they will all have JP blends, so if an electric airliner has to divert from, say, ORD, to some smaller airport, it won’t be necessarily stuck there.

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          • a hybrid setup just offers a nice way to have some backup energy in case something goes wrong to power the air-conditioning when sitting on the tarmac under a blazing sun.

            There… now your research if funded.

            This is why engineers need sales reps.

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  2. Link problem:

    “AERO3 – What happens when two giant pools of suck collide?”

    didn’t connect to highlights of the Chargers/Giants game.

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