Caging Hydrogen in Self-assembling Origami Structures

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Let’s say that you’re really good at folding pieces of paper into miniature birds such as cranes, or life-size elephants, something origami artist Sipho Mabona did recently, starting with a 50-foot by 50-foot piece of paper (he had help from up to 40 others).   The paper elephant, including a metal subframe to support it, weighs over 500 pounds. How about using origami to trap hydrogen in a novel approach to storing energy for fuel cells?  Only, instead of paper, you might use sheets of graphene cleverly folded into cages no more than a few nanometers across – the opposite of the elephant in the art gallery.  Researchers at the University of Maryland’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Maryland NanoCenter, have …

Unzipped Nanotubes Show Energetic Promise

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Rice University, supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), has demonstrated “a way to boost the efficiency of the ubiquitous lithium ion (LI) battery by employing ribbons of graphene that start as carbon nanotubes.” The AFOSR explains, “Four years ago, [Rice chemist James] Tour’s research team demonstrated that they could chemically unzip cylindrical shaped carbon nanotubes into soluble graphene nanoribbons (GNR) without compromising the electronic properties of the graphitic structure. A recent paper by the Tour team, published in IEEE Spectrum and partially funded by AFOSR, showed that GNR can significantly increase the storage capacity of lithium ion (Li-ion) by combining graphene nanoribbons with tin oxide. “By producing GNR in bulk, a necessary requirement for making this …

GraphExeter Aims for Power with Transparency

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

It doesn’t sound much like dispassionate, objective scholarly reporting, but the University of Exeter in England headlines its report on a University-created breakthrough material, “Revolutionary new device joins world of smart electronics.” Layering graphene and the GraphExeter, a material obviously headed for product marketing, gives a “new flexible, transparent, photosensitive device” that can lead to solar-powered clothing able to charge the wearer’s cell phone, “intelligent” windows that can “harvest light and display images,” and just maybe (in this writer’s dreams) help power electric cars and airplanes. GraphExeter, Exeter claims, is the best known room temperature transparent conductor and with graphene – the thinnest conductive material – the pair make for great potential.   Researchers  developed  GraphExeter by sandwiching molecules of …