May 18, 2013
The following jpegs were furnished by Charles Murray, Senior Technical Editor for Design News Daily.
I don’t know about you but I’m absolutely disgusted by the political spectacle displayed daily by the crowd in Washington D.C. It’s really embarrassing to “we the people” who pay the bills in this country. Makes you wonder if any honesty exists within the D.C. “beltway “and makes you very interested finding anyone with “the right stuff”. Do they even exist anymore? Remember honesty? Remember the call to accept a challenge? Remember when obtaining and keeping political power was not the sole reason for waking up? Remember when good solid boring facts were much more important than being politically correct– just to appease someone’s “base”? Remember when having a “brand” referenced the mark on a cow’s butt?
Let’s now take a look at several people who had the “right stuff”. By the way, they were all engineers.
At least five of the seven famed Mercury 7 astronauts of the 1960s were engineers and the sixth and seventh were graduates of the Naval Academy, which offered technical degrees but didn’t specify an area of concentration at the time. Portrayed in Tom Wolfe’s book and in the subsequent movie The Right Stuff, the Mercury 7 crew were considered national heroes for their contributions to the “space race.”
BACK ROW, left to right: Alan Sheppard, B.S. from the US Naval Academy, which did not at the time specify an area of concentration; Gus Grissom, B.S. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University; Gordon Cooper, B.S. in aeronautical engineering from Air Force Institute of Technology. FRONT ROW: Walter Schirra, B.S. Newark College of Engineering and US Naval Academy; Deke Slayton, B.S. in aeronautical engineering from the University of Minnesota; John Glenn, B.S. in engineering from Muskingum College; Scott Carpenter; B.S. in aeronautical engineering from the University of Colorado. Carpenter is said to have missed the final exam for his heat transfer class, leaving him a credit short of a degree, but the university granted him the final credit after his Mercury flight. (Source: Kennedy Space Center)
Neil Armstrong’s name was forever etched in history after he became the first man to set foot on the moon in 1969. Armstrong earned a B.S. in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University and an M.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California. (Source: Johnson Space Center)
Commander in Chief of the US Forces in Operation Desert Shield, Norman Schwarzkopf earned a B.S. in engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Southern California with a specialty of guided missile engineering. At West Point, Schwarzkopf also played on the football team, wrestled, sang, conducted the chapel choir, and later served as an instructor of engineering mechanics. (Source: Wikipedia)
A veteran of five space flights, Bonnie Dunbar has logged more than 50 days in space. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in ceramics engineering from the University of Washington and has a doctorate in mechanical/biomedical engineering from the University of Houston. Dunbar was also the Design News Engineer of the Year in 1993.
NASA astronaut Judith Resnick was a mission specialist who logged more than 144 hours in space. She earned a BS in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland. She was one of seven crew members who died on January 28, 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after launch. (Source: Johnson Space Center)
Ellen Ochoa served on approximately 40 days of space missions in 1993, ’94, ’99, and 2002. She holds a B.S. in physics from the San Diego State University, as well as M.S. and PhD degrees from Stanford in electrical engineering. (Source: Johnson Space Center)
NOW–THESE FOLKS HAD AND HAVE THE RIGHT STUFF. That’s what we are looking for in today’s leaders.
The paragraph headers were written by Mark Manson in a previous transmission. My comments (written in blue) are given below his paragraphs and represent MY responses to his statements. As you can see, in some cases I do not agree.
I suppose there has been and always be the argument as to what country is the best on the planet. Several factors would and should be considered in making that judgement. Factors such as 1.) education, 2.) health care, 3.) freedom of expression, 4.) poverty level, 5.) level of private giving to worthy organizations, etc. I do agree with Mr. Manson that the United States is not the only great country on earth but I still consider the US to be the very best country, all things considered. I welcome your comments on this one.
- Few People Are Impressed By Us
I think many people in other countries ARE impressed with the fact that we are basically free to express our opinions regarding all subjects and seemingly have no impediments in doing so. Our level of freedom is unparalleled, although most western countries enjoy the same freedom we seem to protect those vigorously. Our laws against slander are designed to protect others from malicious information broadcast for the sole purpose of hurting reputations. The execution of these laws are rare but they do exist. I can certainly tell you most people in other countries are NOT impressed by our government and actions taken over the past eight years but, they do like American people.
2. Few People Hate Us
Absolutely agree with this one. I have had the great pleasure of traveling to several countries and have always been able to interact with citizens happy to strike up a conversation. Mostly, they are very curious and have questions regarding life in the United States, especially if they have not traveled to the US. I really enjoy their openness and direct conversation. This is very strange to most Americans because we are so very PC in our approach to life and conversation. It’s just not that way in other countries. WE ARE NOT, FOR THE MOST PART, HATED!
3. We Know Nothing About The Rest Of The World
Unfortunately this is generally true. We are very much out of tune with the geography and culture of other countries. I won’t go into the language barriers we face. We, for whatever reason, seem to shy away from learning any language but English. This is a real problem for most Americans. Also, I have become aware that many, if not most, of our elected political leaders on a the national level know little about other countries. To me, this is really disturbing and extremely embarrassing.
- We Are Poor At Expressing Gratitude And Affection
Having traveled to many Latin American countries, I can tell you they are very good at expressing affection. I supported a company called DAKO in Brazil for about eight (8) years. In the morning after arriving, I got a handshake and a hug from the guys and a kiss on the cheek from the ladies. That’s just the way they do it and it’s refreshing to know they are happy to see you once again. Now, I have also spent time in the Middle-East. The culture is considerably different. You would never express affection to a lady in the same fashion as Latin America. It’s not done. In our country, affection seems to be implied to some degree if a person is a neighbor or coworker. This is not always the case but generally so. We simply do not know how to adequately express gratitude and affection in this country.
- The Quality of Life For The Average American Is Not That Great
We do have the freedom to maximize life’s experiences if talented and energetic enough. I will say the average American definitely works more hours, sometimes for things that do not insure happiness or even comfort. Our standard of living is generally the envy of many nations and others would love to live here. We do pay for that standard of living. When I retired from GE I had 18 days of vacation remaining. Very rarely would an employee in the engineering ranks take their full vacation time. They were actually afraid of losing their job. Not only that, I am always amazed at the number of individuals who work a second job, generally part time.
- The Rest Of The World Is Not A Slum-Ridden Shithole Compared To Us
There are undoubtedly many places in the world that equal the very nicest places in the United States. I’ve been to Dubai and was absolutely blown away. I have children who have visited Bangkok, Ho ng Kong and Singapore. They tell me these cities are new from the ground up AND remarkably clean for urban areas. Now, I personally have seen the slums of Cairo, Sao Paulo and Aman, Jordan and they are much much worse than the slums of Detroit, Atlanta and San Francisco. I would have to agree with Mr. Mason in that we sometimes feel ours is better than theirs. That is not the case, at least not always.
- We’re Paranoid
In all of my travels, I have never been threatened nor felt in danger BUT, due to 911 and incidents such as Boston, we have every right to be vigilant and remain aware. My second granddaughter’s boyfriend was murdered on the streets of Atlanta; broad daylight, five o’clock in the afternoon. If that does not make you a little ( or a lot ) paranoid, think again.
- We’re Status-Obsessed And Seek Attention
This is a definite. Look at all of the reality shows, Hollywood and Country and Western award programs, Miss America, Mrs. America, Miss Teenage America, talk shows, etc etc. Ever watch the news? It’s not about news, it’s about giving the anchor his face-time. Admit it we are status-obsessed to a great degree. We sometimes wish we were in their shoes when ours are just an interesting.
- We Are Very Unhealthy
AGREE ! The United States is number one in per capita expenditure for health care yet number thirty-eight in the work when considering the total health of our population. We are number three in the world for the fattest population. The administration of health care is horrible and there is no real evidence this will change in the upcoming years. If you, like me, are on social security, try to find a doctor.
- We Mistake Comfort For Happiness
Mr. Mason states that our country is built on the exaltation of economic growth and personal ingenuity. Comfort sells. Bigger TVs, more movies, take-out, etc. We are into comfort. Depression and anxiety disorders are soaring. Suicides are at an all-time high. Relationships fall apart seemingly every minute. Divorce is approaching the fifty percent figure. Throughout history, every dominant civilization eventually collapsed because it became TOO successful. They got TOO comfortable and TOO unhappy. We are definitely on that path.
I certainly welcome your comments. Please feel free to express them.
May 5, 2013
I’m admittedly spoiled, jaded, snake bit. When I think of robotic systems I think of automated work cells, moving conveyor belts controlled by PLCs (programmable logic controllers) pick and place robots, SCARA (Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm) or Cartesian robotic systems. I have previously never thought about underwater robotic systems doing work hazardous or impossible for man. As it turns out, these underwater systems are remarkably useful and utilitarian. If we look at the various benefits, we see the following possible uses:
- Examination of “Texas Towers” in the Gulf of Mexico. (NOTE: Robotic systems were used extensively during the BP spill in the Gulf to estimate flow rate and devise a plan to make the necessary repairs.)
- Examination of underwater cable and electrical supplies.
- Examination of ship hulls both private and Federal.
- Deep water diving to investigate underwater surfaces for minerals.
- Investigation of sunken ships, the most notable—the Titanic.
- Search for new underwater species.
- Better definition of geology found underwater. Primarily pertaining to underwater investigations of earthquakes.
The slide show given below was originally presented by Ann R. Thryft, Senior Technical Editor, Materials & Assembly for Design News Daily. A great publication by the way. Let’s now take a look at those robotic systems presently operating and performing remarkable tasks.
The Serpent remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from Seaview Systems is designed for exploring very small-diameter pipelines. It can investigate conduits as small as 9 inches (23 cm) in diameter, and fit around bends with a radius as narrow as 27 inches (68.5 cm). Measuring 9 inch x 9 inch x 57 inch (23 cm x 23 cm x 145 cm) and weighing 70 lb (32 kg), the Serpent runs on two 300W brushless DC motors that give it a total forward thrust of 18 lb (8 kg). With a 0.5 inch (1.3 cm) diameter fiber-optic tether, it can explore as far as 6,000 ft (1,830 m) down a pipe or tunnel. A 360-degree pan/orbit/zoom color camera and two color cameras are included, along with two 70W high-intensity LEDs. The robot also has heading, pitch and roll, and depth sensors, as well as sonar. A fiber-optic telemetry system provides up to three video channels, four RS232 channels, and two RS485 channels. (Source: Seaview Systems)
Saab’s Seaeye Falcon DR remotely operated vehicle (ROV) is used in a wide variety of applications, including oil & gas exploration, scientific exploration and data-gathering and environmental monitoring. Its depth rating is 1,000 m (3,280 ft), and its maximum tether length is 1,100 m (3,608.9 ft) with a 14 mm (0.55 inch) diameter umbilical, although longer options can be achieved with custom umbilicals. It runs on a single-phase, universal auto-sensing, self-selecting input of 100-270V AC at 2.8 kW. The polypropylene chassis, measuring 635 mm x 600 mm x 1,055 mm (25 inch x 23.6 inch x 41.5 inch) is robust and lightweight for buoyancy and lack of corrosion. The robot’s launch weight is 100 kg (220.5 lb), payload is up to 15 kg (33 lb), and top speed is more than 3 knots. 6,400 lumens of LED lights with variable density can be tilted to vary intensity, linked to the video camera’s 180-degree tilting mechanism. Data and video are transmitted via F2 fiber optics. Powered by five magnetically coupled thruster units with a combined forward thrust of 50 kgf, the Seaeye Falcon DR has a 1:1 power to weight ratio. Standard sensors include auto depth and heading, pitch and roll, and compass. (Source: Saab)
The Seaview Systems long-distance remotely operated vehicle (LDROV) can travel up to 10,000 ft (3,000 m) on its 0.6 inch (1.5 cm) fiber-optic umbilical tether, and fit through a manhole only 20 inch (50.8 cm) in diameter. Measuring 17 inch x 18 inch x 41 inch (43 cm x 46 cm x 104 cm), the LDROV weighs 100 lb (45 kg). The top surface of its plastic frame has freewheeling wheels to make it easy for the robot to move smoothly and quickly through pipelines and tunnels. It’s driven by four 300W brushless DC motors that give the LDROV a total forward thrust of 72 lb (32.6 kgf). A 360-degree pan/orbit/zoom color camera and two 530-line color CCD cameras are included, as well as sonar, and sensors for heading, pitch and roll, and depth. A fiber-optic telemetry system provides up to three video channels, four RS232 channels, and two RS485 channels. (Source: Seaview Systems)
This second-generation jellyfish robot prototype, Cyro, built by engineers at Virginia Tech, is about the size of an adult man, weighing 170 lbs. Cyro’s 5 ft 7 inch diameter is a lot bigger than its little brother, the earlier RoboJelly, a tethered robot about the size of a man’s hand. Both can propel themselves through water and refuel themselves, but Cyro is autonomous, operating on a rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery. Both are part of a larger project to develop autonomous naval robots, funded by the Office of Naval Research and the US Naval Undersea Warfare Center. Cyro’s applications include making maps of the ocean’s floors, performing military surveillance, studying aquatic life, and monitoring environmental conditions and ocean currents. Jellyfish have a lower metabolic rate than other aquatic animals and consume less energy, and can withstand a wide range of temperatures, which is why the engineers chose them as energy-efficient biological models. The robots must last for months at a time at sea without human attention for maintenance or refueling. (Source: Virginia Tech)
DARPA is developing a robotic submarine to track human-staffed submarines, specifically quiet diesel electric subs. The Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) is being designed to operate entirely without onboard human presence. Although it might seem that this could complicate the vessel’s design, the program expects to simplify sub design considerably by eliminating the systems that humans use and need. Those add a lot of constraints due to requirements for accessibility, crew support, and layout, as well as affecting the vehicle’s dynamic stability and reserve buoyancy. The autonomous ACTUV will operate for two or three months over thousands of kilometers while requiring only minimal supervision via remote control. This will require some unusual sensor technologies, as well as laser detectors, radar and sonar, for tracking what are some of the quietest submarines on the seas. Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) will build and test the robotic sub. (Source: DARPA)
A prototype unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), funded by DARPA and developed by a team of companies, will contribute to DARPA’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) surveillance effort. The UUV, called the Submarine Hold at RisK (SHARK), has demonstrated the ability to perform communications and sonar functions at great depths. Submarines will be detected using the Transformational Reliable Acoustic Path System (TRAPS), a fixed passive sonar node also operating on the deep seafloor. Next, SHARK will provide a mobile active sonar platform to track the subs. SHARK was built by Bluefin Robotics, a well-known manufacturer of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), and member of the team headed by Applied Physical Systems (APS). Bluefin previously tested the UUV in February during two 4,450-m dives that totaled 11 hours. New capabilities that Bluefin has added to the specialized UUV include advanced pressure vessel design, a new power system, a high-powered acoustics transducer system, an extended operational depth rating, and a transportable docking head launch and recovery system. Next steps are to completely integrate the deep-sea sonar function into SHARK. Eventually, a second vehicle will be built with integrated sonar for networked operations. TRAPS and SHARK are both part of DARPA’s Distributed Agile Submarine Hunting (DASH) program. (Source: DARPA)
iRobot, maker of housecleaning and bomb-sniffing robots, also makes autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for scientific research and offshore oil & gas data collection. After the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, iRobot sent in its 1KA Seaglider robot to monitor underwater conditions, including the presence of oil, at depths as low as 1,000 m (3,280 ft). The autonomous long-range high-endurance robot is designed for missions that range over thousands of miles and last many months. It’s designed for persistent surveillance, marine environmental monitoring, current profiling, seep detection, and data gathering for physical, chemical, and biological oceanography. The Seaglider is 1.8 m to 2 m (5.9 ft to 6.5 ft) long, depending on configuration, has a diameter of 30 cm (11.8 inch) and a wingspan of 1 m (3.3 ft), and weighs 52 kg (114.6 lb). It can be configured to operate at depths of 50 m to 1,000 m (164 ft to 3,280 ft), has a maximum travel range of 4,600 km (2,858.3 miles), and typical speed is 1/2 knot. It uses lithium sulfuric chloride batteries that last up to 10 months. Guidance systems include GPS, an Iridium modem, a 3-axis compass, an acoustic transponder, and an altimeter. The choice of sensors may include a truly enormous variety. (Source: iRobot)
An autonomous robotic vehicle for exploring lakes on other planets has been developed by researchers in the University of Arizona’s department of electrical and computer engineering. Something like a nautical version of a planetary rover, the lake lander, also called the Tucson Explorer II (TEX II), could be used to investigate the liquid hydrocarbon lakes on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Although it will be a while before TEX II goes on a mission to Titan, it can be used on Earth to clean up littoral munitions dumps and mines, as well as harbor surveillance, environmental research, and search and rescue operations in oceans, lakes, and hazardous environments. Controllable via an Internet connection, TEX II has cameras and sonar operational up to 100 m. Its catamaran design provides stability, with two 6-ft long fortified Styrofoam hulls about 5 ft apart. The Styrofoam lets the lake lander withstand hull damage while maintaining buoyancy of its 100-lb weight and 150-lb payload. The hulls’ shallow draft also keeps water perturbation low, for better telemetry of the onboard sensors measuring surface and subsurface liquid conditions. TEX II can also move forward or backward depending on the rotational direction of the electric motors that power its air propellers, mounted at the back of each hull. (Source: University of Arizona)
The Nereus hybrid remotely operated vehicle (HROV) has been designed to go into the deepest ocean trenches on the planet, where it must withstand extraordinary pressures. Instead of glass and steel, it’s made with an aluminum frame and a ceramic housing that protects electronics from that pressure, as well as gives it buoyancy. Nereus can work either on a tether, like an ROV, or it can operate autonomously as an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). The two modes are for accomplishing different tasks. In AUV mode, it can map the seafloor and survey large areas using its LED lights, cameras and sonar, traveling at speeds up to 3 knots. Once the robot locates an object or region of interest, it can be brought back to the support ship, tethered with a fiber-optic cable, and sent back to the area of interest. The cable is then used to receive commands and transmit video while it conducts experiments or collects samples with its manipulator arm. Nereus operates on rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs, each containing about 2,000 batteries like the ones used for laptop computers. It weighs 2,800 kg (6,172.9 lb) and has a payload of 25 kg (55 lb).
(Source: Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Hope you enjoyed this post and it provided value-added. Please send any comments you have. I would love to hear from you.
Fact Sheet — Office of the Spokesperson; Washington, DC, May 2, 2013
Most times we really don’t know and/or understand what our government is doing. They simply don’t tell us in a fashion that makes the news exciting, glamorous, entertaining, etc. This is really what it takes (regrettably) to get our attention. Let’s face it, if it bleeds it leads. Blood, sex, betrayal, scandal will always get the attention of the media and that’s what they choose to let us look at night after night. The following post is NOT sexy, not entertaining nor is it glamorous but, it is news and could very well mean a great deal “down the road” especially if you are thinking about working with a company in Mexico or locating a manufacturing site in Mexico. Also, Mexico is a great customer of the United States so any agreement affects us as suppliers. Take a look and make your own judgment.
In 2012, the United States and Mexico signed an agreement concerning the development of oil and gas reservoirs that cross the international maritime boundary between the two countries in the Gulf of Mexico. The Agreement is designed to enhance energy security in North America and support our shared interest to exercise responsible stewardship of the Gulf of Mexico. It is built on a commitment to the safe, efficient, and equitable development of trans-boundary reservoirs with the highest degree of safety and environmental standards.
- Mexico is consistently one of the top three exporters of petroleum to the United States.
- The United States is Mexico’s largest supplier of refined oil products, mostly coming from U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.
- Former Secretary Clinton and then Mexican Foreign Secretary Espinosa signed the Agreement in Los Cabos in February, 2012. Mexico ratified the agreement in April 2012
- The Agreement establishes a framework that promotes unitization of maritime trans-boundary reservoirs. Upon entry into force, the current moratorium on oil exploration and production along the boundary in the Western Gap portion of the Gulf of Mexico will end.
- Mexican law currently prohibits Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) from jointly developing resources with leaseholders on the U.S. side of the boundary. Mexico opened the door to such cooperation in a 2008 energy reform law, but only if the cooperation takes place pursuant to an international agreement governing trans-boundary reservoirs. The Agreement takes advantage of this opportunity.
- The Agreement facilitates the formation of voluntary arrangements – unitization agreements – between U.S. leaseholders and Pemex for the joint exploration and development of trans-boundary reservoirs. It also provides appropriate incentives to encourage the formation of such arrangements if a reservoir is proven to be trans-boundary and a unitization agreement is not formed. Ultimately, the Agreement provides that development may proceed in an equitable manner that protects each nation’s interests.
- The Agreement provides for ongoing cooperation between the two governments related to safety and the environment, and also provides for joint inspection teams to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Both governments will review and approve all unitization agreements governing the exploration and development of trans-boundary reservoirs under the Agreement, providing for approval of all safety and environmental measures.
- Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have introduced bills that would approve the Trans-boundary Agreement and give the Secretary of the Interior the necessary authorization to implement the agreement. The Administration looks forward to speedy passage of the authorizing legislation.
Effect of the Agreement
- The Agreement will enable U.S. companies to explore new business opportunities and carry out collaborative projects with the Mexican national oil company PEMEX.
- It is expected the Agreement will unlock areas for exploration and exploitation along the boundary within U.S. jurisdiction by providing the legal certainty companies need to invest, potentially providing increased revenues and energy security benefits that would result from increases in production.
- This agreement will make nearly 1.5 million acres of the Outer Continental Shelf more attractive to U.S. operators. The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) estimates that this area contains as much as 172 million barrels of oil and 304 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
- The Trans-boundary Agreement will also help mitigate the safety and environmental risks that would result from unilateral exploration and exploitation along the boundary.
April 28, 2013
Is Lithium-ion the Ideal Battery?
For many years, nickel-cadmium had been the only suitable battery for portable equipment from wireless communications to mobile computing. Nickel-metal-hydride and lithium-ion emerged in the early 1990s, fighting nose-to-nose to gain customer’s acceptance. Today, lithium-ion is the fastest growing and most promising battery chemistry.
The lithium-ion battery
Pioneer work with the lithium battery began in 1912 under G.N. Lewis but it was not until the early 1970s when the first non-rechargeable lithium batteries became commercially available. Lithium is the lightest of all metals, has the greatest electrochemical potential and provides the largest energy density for weight.
Attempts to develop rechargeable lithium batteries failed due to safety problems. Because of the inherent instability of lithium metal, especially during charging, research shifted to a non-metallic lithium battery using lithium ions. Although slightly lower in energy density than lithium metal, lithium-ion is safe, provided certain precautions are met when charging and discharging. In 1991, the Sony Corporation commercialized the first lithium-ion battery. Other manufacturers followed suit.
The energy density of lithium-ion is typically twice that of the standard nickel-cadmium. There is potential for higher energy densities. The load characteristics are reasonably good and behave similarly to nickel-cadmium in terms of discharge. The high cell voltage of 3.6 volts allows battery pack designs with only one cell. Most of today’s mobile phones run on a single cell. A nickel-based pack would require three 1.2-volt cells connected in series.
Lithium-ion is a low maintenance battery, an advantage that most other chemistries cannot claim. There is no memory and no scheduled cycling is required to prolong the battery’s life. In addition, the self-discharge is less than half compared to nickel-cadmium, making lithium-ion well suited for modern fuel gauge applications. Lithium-ion cells cause little harm when disposed.
Despite its overall advantages, lithium-ion has its drawbacks. It is fragile and requires a protection circuit to maintain safe operation. Built into each pack, the protection circuit limits the peak voltage of each cell during charge and prevents the cell voltage from dropping too low on discharge. In addition, the cell temperature is monitored to prevent temperature extremes. The maximum charge and discharge current on most packs are is limited to between 1C and 2C. With these precautions in place, the possibility of metallic lithium plating occurring due to overcharge is virtually eliminated.
Aging is a concern with most lithium-ion batteries and many manufacturers remain silent about this issue. Some capacity deterioration is noticeable after one year, whether the battery is in use or not. The battery frequently fails after two or three years. It should be noted that other chemistries also have age-related degenerative effects. This is especially true for nickel-metal-hydride if exposed to high ambient temperatures. At the same time, lithium-ion packs are known to have served for five years in some applications.
Manufacturers are constantly improving lithium-ion. New and enhanced chemical combinations are introduced every six months or so. With such rapid progress, it is difficult to assess how well the revised battery will age.
Storage in a cool place slows the aging process of lithium-ion (and other chemistries). Manufacturers recommend storage temperatures of 15°C (59°F). In addition, the battery should be partially charged during storage. The manufacturer recommends a 40% charge.
The most economical lithium-ion battery in terms of cost-to-energy ratio is the cylindrical 18650 (size is 18mm x 65.2mm). This cell is used for mobile computing and other applications that do not demand ultra-thin geometry. If a slim pack is required, the prismatic lithium-ion cell is the best choice. These cells come at a higher cost in terms of stored energy.
- High energy density – potential for yet higher capacities.
- Does not need prolonged priming when new. One regular charge is all that’s needed.
- Relatively low self-discharge – self-discharge is less than half that of nickel-based batteries.
- Low Maintenance – no periodic discharge is needed; there is no memory.
- Specialty cells can provide very high current to applications such as power tools.
- Requires protection circuit to maintain voltage and current within safe limits.
- Subject to aging, even if not in use – storage in a cool place at 40% charge reduces the aging effect.
- Transportation restrictions – shipment of larger quantities may be subject to regulatory control. This restriction does not apply to personal carry-on batteries.
- Expensive to manufacture – about 40 percent higher in cost than nickel-cadmium.
- Not fully mature – metals and chemicals are changing on a continuing basis.
Graphics for the slide presentation that follows were furnished by Charles Murray, Senior Technical Editor for “Design News”.
Let’s take a tour through existing uses for lithium-ion battery technology to see what technology is currently being applied.
- Engineers of Nissan’s Leaf, which made its debut in 2010, wanted their car to have a battery that wouldn’t lessen valuable rear-seat space. Instead of placing the lithium-ion batteries in the back seat and trunk, they created a 24-kWh pack that resides under the floor. You can see that application with the JPEG given below. The issue I have with this design is maintenance and possible replacement. You must be able to get to the assembly without excessive time for repairs and replacement. (Source: Nissan)
The Leaf’s 480-lb battery pack is made up of 48 stackable lithium-ion modules. This is considerable weight and probably means a reduction in weight for other structures. Composite materials which are lighter but just as strong as steel are being used for total weight reduction. (Source: Nissan)
- In 2011, Apple’s MacBook Air used lithium polymer batteries to achieve its 0.67-inch thickness. As you can see, the profile is very thin with smooth-flowing lines, only made possible by the Li-Ion battery pack. (Source: Apple)
- We’ve looked at the Leaf; now let’s take a look at the Chevy Volt battery system. The Chevy Volt, which reached production late in 2010, uses a familiar T-shaped battery pack that stores about 16 kWh of energy. (Source: GM)
GM engineers beefed up the battery safety cage to help the Volt resist the kinds of forces seen in NHTSA’s side pole crash test, added a new sensor to monitor coolant levels, and placed a tamper-resistant bracket atop the coolant reservoir.
- Introduced in October 2011, Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner was among the first to employ lithium-ion batteries for auxiliary power back-up. In the past, commercial airliners had typically used nickel-cadmium chemistries. A fire in a Dreamliner parked at Boston’s Logan Airport drew attention to Boeing’s lithium-ion batteries in January 2013. Using data from the Boeing 787 flight recorder, National Transportation Safety Board investigators determined that the cause of the lithium-ion battery fire was short circuit in one of the battery’s eight cells, which led to a thermal runaway condition. (Source: NTSB)
- More traditional batteries are made by Panasonic. In 2011, Panasonic introduced its NCR18650A lithium-ion batteries. Offering a capacity of 3.1 A-h, the batteries were targeted at handheld devices. (Source: Panasonic)
- Ford’s five-passenger Focus Electric, which reached production in 2012, employs a 23-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Using a fast-charging scheme, it can be recharged in three to four hours at 240V. (Source: Ford Motor)
- In 2012, start-up Envia Systems said they created a lithium-ion battery that offers three times as much energy as conventional lithium-ion, at half the cost. (Source: Envia Systems)
- In 2008, Tesla Motors introduced its all-electric two-seat Roadster, which used more than 6,800 lithium-ion cells in an aluminum-enclosed 990-lb package. Inside the pack, cells were organized into 11 modules, with each containing their own control board and microprocessor. Total capacity of the battery was 53 kWh. (Source: Tesla Motors)
This has been a very quick slide show but will demonstrate why Lithium-Ion technology is important and probably will be with us for the foreseeable future. I definitely will keep you updated relative to this important field of science. Hope you enjoyed the posting and I certainly look forward to your comments.
April 27, 2013
DID YOU KNOW?
- More than 80,000 Romanian children live in institutions or exist in foster care families?
- Approximately 9,000 babies are deserted each year in Romania.
- Romania has a 22 % unemployment rate.
- 22.2% of the population lives below the poverty line.
- Zimbabwe loses approximately five million dollars ($5,000,000) daily as a result of governmental corruption.
- Zimbabwe has the largest shrinking economy outside any war zone.
- More than seventy (70) children become orphans every day in Zimbabwe.
- The life expectancy in Zimbabwe is 51.82 years.
- Unemployment rate is 95 %
- 68% of the population lives below the poverty line.
- More than a third of the population of the Dominican Republic lives in abject poverty.
- The unemployment rate for 16 to 24 year old individuals is 30.3%. Total population rate is 14.7%.
- The infant mortality rate in the DR is 21.3 deaths per 1,000 people.
- Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world today. Each year, nearly two million children are exploited in global sex trade. (UNICEF).
- Estimates indicate that 2.5 million people are forced into sexual exploitation at any given time.
- The majority of victims are between the ages of 18 and 24.
- 1.2 million children are trafficked each year. 43% of these children are forced into commercial sexual exploitation of whom 98% are female.
- The estimated global annual profit from the sex trade is $31.6 billion USD.
- For every 800 people trafficked, there is only 1 conviction.
THE BIG QUESTION: WHO CARES?
THE ANSWER: CALVARY CHAPEL, CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE
Calvary Chapel of Chattanooga, Tennessee has for the past two years sponsored a 5K fun run specifically for the purpose of raising money to support efforts designed to mitigate the conditions you see above. All of the money raised is directed to institutions dedicated to bringing about lessening of the suffering evident within the countries mentioned, plus helping to solve the huge problem of human trafficking. This run is called: FREEDOM RUN. The banner below announced event.
This is the second year for the 5K and even though in it’s infancy, the number of participants has grown approximately 25 % from the 2012 initiation. The number of companies willing to sponsor the event has increased significantly also. My company jumped at the opportunity to be a sponsor due to the mission and purpose. The Freedom Run is held at The Lula Lake Land Trust on Lookout Mountain, Georgia. The course is absolutely one of the most scenic routes in the southeast with breathtaking views of the falls and the valley below. That will be very evident when we take a look at the JPEGs which follow.
As you might expect, any event such as this requires very careful and continuous planning lasting for months on end. There are never-ending details to attend to so health, safety and sanitary conditions are met for the runners. Water stations, port-a-potties, EMTs available just in case injuries occur, nutrients for the runners, i.e. oranges, bananas, nuts, etc etc. You get the picture. One of the organizers for this event is Rachel Reeves. Rachel and her husband Todd are shown below.
You are looking at two of the finest people on the planet. Extremely well organized and fully equipped to execute an event such as this. Rachel was a member of the team that worked tirelessly and planned this second year 5K. She and her team deserve tremendous credit for taking care of the big stuff as well as the ever-present minutia.
I would like to show you the course. Hopefully, you will agree the scenery is really spectacular.
As you can see, the trail is definitely a challenge with rock walls lining the right side of the first mile. Dirt path all the way. Please note the jackets most are wearing. At 0830 hours, the temperature on Lookout Mountain was a very brisk 34 degrees. It had rained the night before so the paths were soaked and presented an additional challenge. The course this year was altered somewhat so runners could get a better look at the falls. You must agree, the view is inspiring.
The falls drop into a gently flowing, never-ending stream as shown below.
The second mile is all uphill except for a very slight leveling off just as you enter the last stretch of the race. The view at the top is spectacular overlooking the Chattanooga Valley into North Georgia.
You get an idea as to where the trail is located by looking at the JPEG below. This picture was taken from the trail whereas the one above was taken from an overhanging rock off the trail.
My running partner was Todd Reeves. He volunteered to call 911 in case the old guy went into cardiac arrest. You can also see one additional view of the valley below.
I have no idea as to our time but I will say: great company, good course, beautiful day and a marvelous cause. What else could you ask for?
One thing about this race, it was for everyone both young and old. The father/daughter team shown below had a great time, completed the race and enjoyed the beautiful day. Upon asking, I discovered this dynamic duo had an excellent time, pushing a stroller, walking and with him carrying his precious little daughter.
As you can see from the picture below, Todd and I completed the race. Since he had been working in South Africa for several months , we put in a great deal of time in “catch-up” conversation. A little walking a little running and “tons” of talking. By the time we finished, the sun was out and the remainder of the day was actually quite beautiful. All-in-all, a great day.
QUESTION: DO YOU CARE?
Come join us next year. We would love to have you celebrate with us.
INVEST IN THE FUTURE!
April 16, 2013
The following statistics are from “USA TODAY”, Monday, April 1, 2013.
It has been said that baseball is “America’s game”—our national pastime. I don’t doubt that for one minute. There are twenty-nine (29) teams in the United States and one (1) team in Canada, each playing one hundred and sixty –two (162) games per season; lasting from early April to late September with post-season play in October. Four thousand eight hundred and sixty (4,860) games. You can see there are multiple games just about every day during the season, most televised on a regional basis. If you follow baseball at all, you have a favorite team. One that sparks your imagination and takes you back to the time when you devoutly wished for play in the “bigs”. Times have truly changed over the years from big-league players barely making ends meet to the multi-millionairs of today. There are many stories of players participating in the game they love, then working a second job to feed wife and family. Not too uncommon in the late 40s and 50s. Today, salary figures quite quite different. Let’s take a look at the highest paid players in major league baseball.
- Alex Rodriguez Yankees $29 million
- Cliff Lee Phillies $25 million
- Johan Santana Mets $24.6 million
- Mark Teixeira Yankees $23.1 million
- Prince Fielder Tigers $23 million
- Joe Mauer Twins $23 million
- Tim Lincecum Giants $23 million
- Zack Greinke Dodgers $21 million
- Vernon Wells Yankees $21 million
- Miguel Cabrera Tigers $21 million
- Adrian Gonzalez Dodgers $21 million
I certainly don’t begrudge anyone for making money, even these amounts, but there are those years in which these guys are definitely overpaid. The matrix is RBIs, home runs, times on base, strikeouts, hits, etc. You know the drill. In choosing several individual teams, we see the following:
Total Payroll $89.8 million
Average Salary $3. 1 million
Total Payroll $154.6 million
Average Salary $5.1 million
- Washington Nationals
Total Payroll $110.8 million
Average Salary $4.4 million
Total Payroll $227.3 million
Average Salary $7.1 million
Total Payroll $120.0 million
Average Salary $4.1 million
There is no doubt that “TV” money is responsible for elevating player salaries. I just wish we could generate as much enthusiasm for teaching and learning as we do major league baseball. Can you just imagine a teacher’s starting salary being six figures? How about a signing bonus? How about rewarding a teacher for the number of students accepted into university study? How about a 100 percent high school graduation rate for every child in the United States? How about a child performing at grade level for every grade? Would you pay for that?