Aurora Flight Sciences Win DARPA Award for Advanced VTOL

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Electric Aircraft Symposia attendees will be familiar with presentations by Dr. John S. Langford, Chairman and CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences, an aeronautical firm continuously redefining the leading edge of aerial technology.  He has shared the firm’s achievements in autonomous flight, with the company’s Centaur, a twin-engine light twin going from takeoff to landing at a distant airport without the need for pilot intervention. With other research projects on solar power, high altitude reconnaissance, and future “double-bubble” wide-body airliners, Aurora apparently showed enough innovative capacity to win an award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for its newest X-Plane, an unpiloted vertical takeoff and landing speedster called Lightning Strike. This Phase 2 award takes from a preliminary design …

Giving Power Walking a Whole New Meaning

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed a self-charging power cell that uses a piezoelectric membrane to convert mechanical energy to chemical energy, then stores that energy until it can be released as en electrical current. Combining the power generator with the energy storage device, this hybrid is claimed to be more efficient than systems with separate generators and batteries.  When the piezoelectric membrane is flexed, it moves lithium ions in the power cell from one side of the cell to the other. Membranes in shoe heels and soles could produce power when a person walked, powering small electronic devices such as calculators or cell phones. Zhong Lin Wang, a Regents professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering Georgia …

99.99 Percent Air, Thinner Than a Human Hair

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

ScienceDaily reports that, “A team of researchers from UC Irvine, HRL Laboratories and the California Institute of Technology have developed the world’s lightest material — with a density of 0.9 mg/cc — about one hundred times lighter than Styrofoam™.” Their findings appear in the Nov. 18 issue of Science. Looking a bit like a jacks matrix, this “micro-lattice” cellular architecture consists of 99.99 percent air and a lattice of interconnected hollow tubes with a wall thickness 1,000 times thinner than a human hair, according to Dr. Tobias Schaedler of HRL. Despite its extreme lightness, the advanced material is not flimsy.  Squeezing it to 50 percent of its original dimensions does not destroy the lattice.  Instead, it handles the high strain …