Adam and Jamie are Paying Attention

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Seeley alerted your editor this morning that Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman’s web site, Tested.com, featured an entry on electric aircraft, “Fuel-Free Flight: the State of Electric Airplanes,” by Terry Dunn.  Dunn does a good job of covering history and advantages of electric aircraft – complete with a quote from Dr. Seeley about the good neighbor aspect of quiet electric airplanes. He also discusses the barriers to electric aircraft development beyond current motor gliders and light aircraft – mainly the question of obtaining batteries that have much better energy densities than those currently available. “The batteries currently available are adequate to provide suitable range for some flyers. As the pool of available batteries improves, so will the range of …

Combining the Best Features of Balsa Wood, Ceramics and NERF®

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

California Institute of Technology (CalTech) floats this imaginary trial balloon to elicit interest in a new material developed by materials scientist Julia Greer and her colleagues.  “Imagine a balloon that could float without using any lighter-than-air gas. Instead, it could simply have all of its air sucked out while maintaining its filled shape. Such a vacuum balloon, which could help ease the world’s current shortage of helium, can only be made if a new material existed that was strong enough to sustain the pressure generated by forcing out all that air while still being lightweight and flexible.” Not only are the scientists achieving the strong, lightweight part of the equation, they are “on the path” to making their new material …