Special Coverage


Nanomaterial Extends Lithium-Sulfur Battery Lifespan

A new nanomaterial could extend the lifespan of lithium-sulfur batteries, and therefore the driving range of electric vehicles.Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers added the powder to the battery's cathode to capture problematic polysulfides that usually cause lithium-sulfur batteries to fail after a few charges.Metal organic frameworks — also called MOFs — are crystal-like compounds made of metal clusters connected to organic molecules, or linkers. Together, the clusters and linkers assemble into porous 3-D structures. During lab tests, a lithium-sulfur battery with PNNL's MOF cathode maintained 89 percent of its initial power capacity after 100 charge-and discharge cycles. Having shown the effectiveness of their MOF cathode, PNNL researchers now plan to further improve the cathode's mixture of materials so it can hold more energy.SourceAlso: Check out other Materials tech briefs.

Posted in: Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Materials, Metals, Nanotechnology, News


Engineers Develop 'Simple' Robotic Swarms

University of Sheffield engineers have developed a way of making hundreds — or even thousands — of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks. The robots do not require memory or processing power. Each robot uses just one sensor that indicates the presence of another nearby robot. Based on the sensor's findings, the robots will either rotate on the spot, or move around in a circle until one can be seen.Until now, robotic swarms have required complex programming, complicating the development of miniaturized, individual robots. With the programming created by the Sheffield team, however, nanoscale machines are possible.SourceAlso: Learn about a Kinematic Calibration Process for Flight Robotic Arms.

Posted in: Motion Control, Sensors, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, News


A Sharper Vision for Medical Imaging Systems

            Starting with the discovery of x-rays, imaging systems have helped physicians identify issues, make diagnoses, and provide treatments to improve the standard of care. Thanks to a new wave of technological advancements, imaging systems are taking medical services to a new level.

Posted in: Tech Talks


Strain Measurement using High-Speed Data Acquisition Systems in a Split-Hopkinson Bar Application

            Dynamic material testing, such as in a Split-Hopkinson bar test, requires high-speed data acquisition (DAQ) and sensors with enough bandwidth to capture these dynamic impulses. In this tech talk presentation, HBM, manufacturer of strain gauges, load cells, torque transducers, data acquisition systems and software, will give an introduction in Split-Hopkinson bar tests as well as discuss the required data acquisition systems for this type of testing.

Posted in: Tech Talks


Coming Soon - Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers - How Fiber Lengths and Loading Define the Achievable Properties and Dictate the Manufacturing Techniques

The Webinar will look at the properties of thermoplastic composites. Focusing mainly on carbon-fiber filled composites, we will show how the geometry of the filler, as well as the amount of filler, affects the properties of the finished article. The filler properties also generally determine the available manufacturing techniques that can be used.

Posted in: Upcoming Webinars


Will "Flying Cars" Become a Reality?

A Boston-based aerospace company Terrafugia announced last year that it began work on its TF-6, a four-seat hybrid electric car that can do vertical take-offs and landings. The vehicle has foldable wings, cruises at 100 miles per hour, fits inside a single-car garage, and drives at highway speeds. With the new prototype, Terrafugia believes that users can learn to operate the TF-X in just five hours. Users will have to learn how to interface with the vehicle; how to determine if it's safe to take off and land; and when to activate the vehicle's parachute system in the event of an emergency.

Posted in: Question of the Week


Switchable Material Absorbs and Stores Sun's Energy

A team at MIT and Harvard University has created a material that absorbs the sun’s heat and stores that energy in chemical form, ready to be released again on demand.The technology provides an opportunity for the expansion of solar power into new realms, specifically applications where heat is the desired output.“It could change the game, since it makes the sun’s energy, in the form of heat, storable and distributable,” says Jeffrey Grossman, the Carl Richard Soderberg Associate Professor of Power Engineering at MIT.SourceAlso: See other Materials tech briefs.

Posted in: Materials, Energy Storage, Solar Power, Renewable Energy, Energy, News