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Will airships be the future of "green" aviation?

A group of academics from the University of Lincoln, UK, believe airships may be the 'green' answer to the future growth of aviation . The Multibody Advanced Airship for Transport (MAAT) project, made up of eight nations and led by the Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia in Italy, is working to design a cruiser which can travel across the globe on a set route. Smaller feeder ships carrying people and goods would then be able to dock onto the cruiser while it is still moving. To provide sufficient electric power during the day, photovoltaic arrays, mounted on the upper airship surface, harvest sunlight. What do you think? Will airships be the future of "green" aviation?

Posted in: Question of the Week

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Researchers Develop Hybrid Supercapacitors

UCLA researchers have successfully combined two nanomaterials to create a new energy storage medium that combines the best qualities of batteries and supercapacitors.The new hybrid supercapacitor stores large amounts of energy, recharges quickly, and can last for more than 10,000 recharge cycles. The UCLA scientists also created a microsupercapacitor that is small enough to fit in wearable or implantable devices. Just one-fifth the thickness of a sheet of paper, it is capable of holding more than twice as much charge as a typical thin-film lithium battery.The new components combine laser-scribed graphene, or LSG — a material that can hold an electrical charge, is very conductive, and charges and recharges very quickly — with manganese dioxide, which is currently used in alkaline batteries. The nanomaterials can be fabricated without the need for extreme temperatures or the expensive “dry rooms” required to produce today’s supercapacitors.“Let’s say you wanted to put a small amount of electrical current into an adhesive bandage for drug release or healing assistance technology,” said professor Richard Kaner. “The microsupercapacitor is so thin you could put it inside the bandage to supply the current. You could also recharge it quickly and use it for a very long time.”The researchers found that the supercapacitor could quickly store electrical charge generated by a solar cell during the day, hold the charge until evening, and then power an LED overnight, showing promise for off-grid street lighting.SourceAlso: Read more Electronics & Computers tech briefs.

Posted in: News

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New Materials Enable Flapping Robotic Wings

Dielectric elastomers, popular materials in robotic hands, soft robots, tunable lenses, and pneumatic valves, may now be used to create flapping robotic wings.Researchers from the Harbin Institute of Technology in Weihai, China and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), have discovered a new resonance phenomenon in a dielectric elastomer rotary joint. By applying alternating voltages to the electro-active polymer, the joint continuously bends at different angles. When the rotational inertia of the joint or the applied voltage is large enough, the joint deforms beyond 90 degrees to 180 degrees.The new phenomenon makes the dielectric elastomer joint a good candidate for creating a soft and lightweight flapping wing for robotic birds. The development would be more efficient than bird wings based on electrical motors due to the higher energy conversion efficiency (60 to 90 percent) of the dielectric elastomer. Made by sandwiching a soft insulating elastomer film between two compliant electrodes, dielectric elastomers can be squeezed and expanded in a plane when a voltage is applied between electrodes. In contrast to actuators based on rigid materials such as silicon, dielectric elastomers reach a very large extent of stretch, enabling new possibilities in many fields, including soft robotics, tunable optics, and cell manipulation. SourceAlso: Read Aeronautics tech briefs.

Posted in: News

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Optimizing Heavy Equipment for Handling Bulk Materials with Adams-EDEM Co-simulation

This Webinar examines the challenges of designing bulk material handling equipment and demonstrates how co-simulation benefits engineers. By co-simulating environments, this enables engineers to realistically model the motion of equipment as it interacts with a bulk material and examine how material loads are transferred throughout their mechanical system. Designs can be virtually tested for a wide range of materials types and equipment maneuvers.

Posted in: On-Demand Webinars

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Sphere Versus 45°/0° Versus Multi-angle: A Discussion Of Industrial Use Cases

With over 150 years of combined experience, the leader in the color management business, X-Rite Pantone will help you define, specify, measure and manage accurate color across the entire color supply chain. Right the first time, right every time.

Posted in: White Papers

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Autonomous Robots Keep Warehouse Running Green

YLOG, a startup company in Austria, uses an intelligent and very environmentally friendly logistics system that is winning an increasing number of customers. The technology makes use of individual, freely moving Autonomous Intelligent Vehicles (AiVs) that detect each other, observe right-of-way rules, recognize one-way routes, and complete their tasks fully autonomously without intervention from or coordination by a central computer.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Articles, Motors & Drives, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Advanced Methodology for Precisely Simulating RTD Sensor Types

This technology has applications in plant process simulation, hardware-in-the loop testing of electronic control units in automobiles and avionics, and spacecraft and satellite systems testing. VTI Instruments Corporation, Irvine, California Resistance thermometers, also called resistance temperature detectors (RTDs), are very common sensors used for temperature measurement. Their reliability, ruggedness, wide range, and value make them popular in the process industry and research laboratories alike. A wide range of instruments, PLC I/O systems, data acquisition, and control systems are designed to interface with these sensors and perform actions based on their measured value. Testing of such systems requires a sensor to be simulated, where hardware-in-the-loop testing is mandatory. Often the validation of such systems will end up being a complex issue if not properly planned.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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