Get a Spine!  Flexible, High-Density Energy Storage

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

The Vertebrate Battery “Prof. Yuan Yang of the engineering school at Columbia University (New York) modeled, designed, built, and fully evaluated a configuration that emulates the spine of vertebrates, while providing 85% of the energy density of a prismatic Li-ion cell with equivalent volume.” According to Power Electronics.com. Professor Yang’s 14-member team, working in the impressively-named Center for Precision Assembly of Superstratic and Superatomic Solids, and  inspired by the flexibility of the human spine and its ability to repeatedly endure bending and twisting, designed a battery that emulates the characteristics of what is in essence a structural battery.  We know from experience that our backbones can perform some pretty extraordinary twists and turns – witness the supple routines of gymnasts …

Twisting, Turning and Nailing the Landing

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We like to think that our mastery of aerobatics is second to none, but aircraft only achieve a small part of the birds’ ability to hover, swoop, and perch on a target at zero forward airspeed.  Researchers in Switzerland and England, though, are making progress toward deeper emulation of nature’s masters of flight. Our Fine Feathered Drone Dano Floreano and his team of researchers at  Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne’s (EPFL) Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, obviously spent lots of time observing birds in flight, noting that our avian friends alter their wing configuration to “change direction, increase their speed or counter headwinds.”  Changing wing shape helps birds make near-instantaneous maneuvers. Floreano, attempting to mimic the birds’ movements, helped develop …

EAS IX: Tyler MacCready on Swarm Science

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

One of your editor’s favorite books is An Exaltation of Larks, James Lipton’s compilation of venereal terms (not what you think) for plurals of animals.  Squires who aspired to become knights had to learn over 100 such terms, according to Sir Walter Scott.  Terms of venery (references to animal flesh) include a school of fish, a litter of puppies, and a nest of vipers (going back to at least the King James version of St. Paul’s words). One lesser known term, a murmuration of starlings, relates to Tyler MacCready’s talk on how control of the Future Crowded Skies at EAS IX might mimic the flocks of birds we see swarming and precipitously changing directions in swooping formations. Obviously, the numbers …