CubeSats, Airplanes Made of Batteries?

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dr. Luke Roberson, Dr. Ryan Karkkainen, and Dr. Xiangyang Zhou are now collaborating on “Creating a structural battery material [that] could revolutionize the way NASA operates small payloads.”  Batteries now take up 20 to 35 percent of the volume in some CubeSats, 10 centimeters (3.97 inches) ×10 cm. × 11.35 cm (4.47 inches) cubes, as the name implies.  Each CubeSat can weight up to 1.33 kilograms (2.93 pounds). Normally made of aluminum, CubeSats carry batteries for communication, storing energy collected from solar cells on their host vehicles, or powering sensors, cameras, and providing environmental norms for science experiments they carry.  Obviously, their small size dictates using every square centimeter wisely.  Replacing their inert walls with a structural battery could free …

Graphene 3D Lab’s Graphene Filaments Work Magic

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Graphene 3D Lab, Inc. has demonstrated that graphene can be easily mixed with thermoplastics commonly used in fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printers. The company has demonstrated a mixture of plastics and graphene that can be turned into nanocomposite material filament which can then be used within any standard FDM 3D printer.  They have managed to craft a functioning battery which may be incorporated into a 3D printed object during printing. These filaments show good thermal and electrical conductivity and are shown in the video forming a 3D printed battery. Different components require separate “printings” at present, but company CEO Dr. Daniel Stolyarov explains that future iterations of the process will be able to simultaneously produce multiple material parts.  His corporate …

Load-Bearing Supercapacitors

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

What if your battery served also as a wing or a fuselage?  Several current efforts converge on creating batteries or supercapacitors that could function as structural elements in electric vehicles.  We’ve reported on this before, with efforts by Dr. Emil Greenhalgh at Imperial College London and associated work by Volvo to make car components from the type of energy storing sandwich structure he developed.  Your editor’s article on the “Grand Unified Airplane” in the July 2013 issue of Kitplanes magazine advanced the idea that such structures, coupled with graphene’s projected capabilities to collect solar energy, could lead to a self-powering aircraft.  (In researching the current entry, he found that his idea had been done at model scale by BAE.) Reports …