My Battery Won’t Blow Up. It’s Gellin’

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

We think of gel inserts as something to absorb energy in shoes, and their uses extend into saddle cushions and protective seat pads for racing drivers.  Researchers in South Korea, however, are looking at ways to transfer ions through gelatins similar to those used in Japanese food. Konnyaku is a vegan gelatin often used to make stretchy noodles popular in Japanese cooking.  A similar organic gel (organogel) can be used in electrolytes with “high ionic conductivity and cationic transference number,” according to a research team at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), South Korea. Professors Hyun-Kon Song and Noejung Park of UNIST and their fellow researchers have developed an organogel polymer electrolyte that looks like clear Jello® and …

Hey, My Car Needs a Jump Start. May I Borrow Your Cell Phone?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Seriously, think of a battery in your cell phone that could jump start a car, and then be recharged “in the blink of an eye.”  That’s exactly what mechanical science and engineering professor William P. King and his team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign claim to have created. The most powerful microbatteries ever documented “outpower even the best supercapacitors” and could be in cell phones and small portable devices in the next few years. “This is a whole new way to think about batteries,” King said. “A battery can deliver far more power than anybody ever thought. In recent decades, electronics have gotten small. The thinking parts of computers have gotten small. And the battery has …

Solid, Man! Electrolytes Go Granular

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Most liquid battery electrolytes that conduct ions between anode and cathode also carry with them a flammability problem, especially as chemists try to pack more power into smaller batteries.  Recent fires which have grounded all Boeing 787s in the world highlight the danger. The blog has noted before the dangers of overcharging lithium batteries and especially of leaving even model airplane sized packs lying about unattended during charging. Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers claim to have demonstrated safety advantages with a nanoporous electrolyte, according to a January 23, 2013 release.  ORNL’s Chengdu Liang says, “To make a safer, lightweight battery, we need the design at the beginning to have safety in mind.  We started with a conventional material that is …