How Cheaply Can One Fly?

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

How low(cost) can you go and still fly?   That question forms one of the pursuits of the Minimalist Airplane Study Group, hosted by William Rich on Yahoo Groups.  He may have found an answer that leads to several intriguing alternative uses for the type of electric powerplant described below.  Use of model aircraft components leads to a low-cost build, and judicious use of off-the-shelf parts from other hobbies keeps costs low and speeds up the development process. He points to a hack from Laserhacker.com, which uses a motor, controller, propeller batteries and connectors one might find at the local hobby shop.  This assemblage manages to fly a paramotor despite the small size of the motor and the relatively small size …

Graphene Supercapacitor Shows Promise and Longevity

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Materials, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

A forever battery would be nice, wouldn’t it?  Something low cost that could be recharged in seconds, time after time, indefinitely, and be about as environmentally sensitive as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club combined – there’s the ideal battery. That might seem like a miracle, and it relies on that miracle material – graphene – for its many astounding properties to help make this flexible battery a reality. Dr. Han Lin of Swinburne University in New South Wales, Australia has 3D printed his prototype battery at a much lower cost than with previous production techniques.  The immediate “take” on this material is that it could be used in things like watch straps, powering the attached timekeeper, or in (inter)active sports …

Airbus Has an Electric Project on the Side

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Employees at the Airbus Filton, Bristol facilities in England help advance aerospace activities with a dedicated lifecycle approach to their endeavors.  This includes design, supply chain, manufacturing, aircraft operation and end of life phases which are subject to definition, analysis, and ongoing improvement.  Filton designs all wings, fuel systems and landing gears for Airbus commercial aircraft, and makes the wings for the A400M military transport plane. The group’s adherence to their principles has helped result in Airbus aircraft showing a reduction in CO2 emission of 75 percent in the last 40 years, a drop of nitrogen oxides of 90 percent, and a reduction of noise by 65 percent.  Airbus is the only aircraft company to be certified to ISO 14001 …

EAS IX: Additive Manufacturing Parts Flying on Airbuses

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Scott Sevcik, Aerospace and Defense Business Development Manager for Stratasys, gave EAS IX participants a look into the most advanced aircraft manufacturing techniques currently available, and what might be possible in the near future. Traditional manufacturing techniques have relied on subtractive techniques, starting with an aluminum billet, for instance, and sawing, filing and sanding away anything that doesn’t belong on the finished part.  Anyone who’s worked in a shop knows the barrels and buckets of metal shavings that fill up quickly.  What if there were no materials to be recycled at the end of a production run? Additive manufacturing (AM) is a way to produce parts that grow during the process, and that don’t leave much, or any, debris afterward.  …

Put Three Things Together – 3D, Aerogel, Graphene – and It’s Got to be Good

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

If there were a pantheon of technological hipness, right now three front-runners for induction would be 3D printing, aerogel and graphene.  They all rank high on the disruptive technology scale, have enormous amounts of good press, and excite the imagination with their potential. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have gone beyond combining chocolate and peanut butter by blending the three higher-tech ingredients into a rather amazing battery material with excellent electrical and mechanical properties.  We have discussed the idea of structural batteries in this blog, and this new melding of technologies holds much promise. Aerogel, as defined in the Laboratory’s announcement, “is a synthetic porous, ultralight material derived from a gel, in which the liquid component of the gel has …

Graphene 3D Lab’s Graphene Filaments Work Magic

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Graphene 3D Lab, Inc. has demonstrated that graphene can be easily mixed with thermoplastics commonly used in fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printers. The company has demonstrated a mixture of plastics and graphene that can be turned into nanocomposite material filament which can then be used within any standard FDM 3D printer.  They have managed to craft a functioning battery which may be incorporated into a 3D printed object during printing. These filaments show good thermal and electrical conductivity and are shown in the video forming a 3D printed battery. Different components require separate “printings” at present, but company CEO Dr. Daniel Stolyarov explains that future iterations of the process will be able to simultaneously produce multiple material parts.  His corporate …

3D Printed Power Inverter Meets, Beats DOE 2020 Targets

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Reduced weight and component volumes are important for both cars and aircraft, allowing lighter overall construction and greater flexibility in fitting those components into compact spaces.  The U. S. Department of Energy has set 2020 targets for things like batteries and power inverters – the device that turns direct current from batteries into alternating current to run electric motors.  Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)used 3D printing and “novel silicon carbide (SiC) wide band gap (WBG) semiconductors to craft a prototype power inverter for electric vehicles that is lighter and can handle more power than current units.  It nearly meets the DOE’s power density and specific power targets and exceeds the efficiency target handily. Metric …

Dr. Ajay Misra Leads Off With a Hit at EAS VIII

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Not to indulge in hyperbole, but people who missed the eighth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium will, like the laggards mentioned in Henry V’s speech, “think themselves accurs’d they were not here”  (Shakespeare, Henry V, act 4, scene III). After the Friday morning introductions by Dr. Brien Seeley, founder and president of the CAFE Foundation, things immediately went into high gear with the presentation by Dr. Ajay Misra, NASA Glenn Research Center.  A member of the Senior Executive Service, he is Chief of the Structures and Materials Division in the Research & Technology Directorate.  In this position, Dr. Misra has the responsibility for planning, advocating, coordinating, organizing, directing and supervising all phases of Division research and business activities. His degrees in …

If You Can Draw It, We Can Print It – In 3D

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Students and faculty at the University of Southampton on the southern English coast have created an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in just a week, from the initial design to the finished, flying object. “Printed” from nylon on an EOS EOSINT P730 nylon laser sintering machine, the plane emerges from the device in successive layers and comes with hinges already in place, emulating the bearings, crank and headset-in-place bicycle recently produced by EADS (Airbus) using similar technology and materials. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFFFiB_if18 Part of a “ground-breaking” course of study “which enables students to take a Master’s Degree in unmanned autonomous vehicle (UAV) design,” the Southampton University Layer Sintered Aircraft (SULSA) can be snap-fitted together in minutes without tools. SULSA has a 2-meter (6.4 …