February 1, 2019

I always marvel at the pace of technology and how that technology fills a definite need for products only dreamt of previously.   We all have heard that “necessity is the mother of invention” well, I believe that to a tee.  We need it, we can’t find it, no one makes it, let’s invent it.  This is the way adults solve problems.  Every week technology improves our lives giving us labor-saving devices that “tomorrow” will become commonplace.  All electro-mechanical devices run on amperage provided by voltage impressed.   Many of these devices use battery power for portability.   Lithium-ion batteries seem to be the batteries of choice right now due to their ability to hold a charge and their ability to fast-charge.

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.

The energy density of lithium-ion is typically twice that of the standard nickel-cadmium. This is a huge advantage recognized by engineers and scientists the world over.  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.

If we look at advantages and disadvantages, we see the following:


  • 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.

One amazing property of Li-Ion batteries is their ability to be formed.  Let’s take a look.

Researchers have just published documentation relative to a new technology that will definitely fill a need.


Researchers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in Korea have developed an imprintable and bendable lithium-ion battery they claim is the world’s first, and could hasten the introduction of flexible smart phones that leverage flexible display technology, such as Samsung’s Youm flexible OLED.

Samsung first demonstrated this display technology at CES 2013 as the next step in the evolution of mobile-device displays. The battery could also potentially be used in other flexible devices that debuted at the show, such as a wristwatch and a tablet.

Ulsan researchers had help on the technology from Professor John A. Rogers of the University of Illinois, researchers Young-Gi Lee and Gwangman Kim of Korea’s Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, and researcher Eunhae Gil of Kangwon National University. Rogers was also part of the team that developed a breakthrough in transient electronics, or electronics that dissolve inside the body.

The Korea JoongAng Daily newspaper first reported the story, citing the South Korea Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, which co-funded the research with the National Research Foundation of Korea.

The key to the flexible battery technology lies in nanomaterials that can be applied to any surface to create fluid-like polymer electrolytes that are solid, not liquid, according to Ulsan researchers. This is in contrast to typical device lithium-ion batteries, which use liquefied electrolytes that are put in square-shaped cases. Researchers say this also makes the flexible battery more stable and less prone to overheating.

“Conventional lithium-ion batteries that use liquefied electrolytes had problems with safety as the film that separates the electrolytes may melt under heat, in which case the positive and negative may come in contact, causing an explosion,” Lee told the Korean newspaper. “Because the new battery uses flexible but solid materials, and not liquids, it can be expected to show a much higher level of stability than conventional rechargeable batteries.”

This potential explosiveness of the materials in lithium-ion batteries — which in the past received attention because of exploding mobile devices — has been in the news again recently in the case of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which has had several instances of liquid leaking lithium-ion batteries. The problems have grounded Boeing’s next-generation jumbo jet until they are investigated and resolved.

This is a very short posting but one I felt would be of great interest to my readers.  New technology; i.e. cutting-edge stuff, etc. is fun to write about and possibly useful to learn.  Hope you enjoy this one.

Please send me your comments:


Data used in this post come from the following sources: 1.) Industry Week and the 2.) International Trade Administration.  

Unless you have been living in a cave, you know the United States has, for the most part, lost much of its manufacturing base.  I personally think this is a travesty, but that’s just me.  Think about those items you purchase with some degree of regularity and the “MADE IN _________” tag you find prior to that purchase.  Consumer goods such as: electronics, textiles, shoes, clothing, not to mention commercial products such as machine tools, hand tools, medical equipment, etc have gone “overseas”.   Made in China is much more common than made in America.   If you don’t believe that, take a stroll through Wal-Mart or Toys-R-Us.  There is good news relative to individual states exporting to other countries. We are in the process of seeing “re-shoring” or a return to manufactured goods produced in our country also.  Industry Week published a fascinating article indicating that in 2013 our country exported $2.3 trillion in goods to other countries.   The top twenty-five recipients of those goods are as follows:



If we look at the percentages, we find the top five (5) are:

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • China
  • Japan
  • Germany

The top ten (10) states exporting to other countries may be seen by the spreadsheet given as follows:

1.)    TEXAS  with $279.7 Billion

2.)  California with $168.1 Billion

3.)  Washington St with $81.9 Billion

4.)  Louisiana with $63.1 Billion

5.)  Michigan with $58.5 Billion

6.)  Ohi0 with $50.5 Billion

7.)  Georgia with $37.6 Billion

8.) Tennessee with $32.4 Billion

9.) North Carolina with $29.3 Billion

10.) South Carolina with $26.1 Billion

Let’s take a look at what each state contributes to the total $2.3 trillion dollar figure.

  • TEXAS: Texas merchandise exports increased 5.7%, growing from $264.7 billion to $279.7 billion.  Key merchandise export categories include: petroleum products; computer and electronic products; chemicals; machinery manufactures; and transportation equipment.
  • CALIFORNIA:  California merchandise exports increased 3.9%, growing from $161.9 billion to $168.1 billion. Key merchandise export categories include: computer and electronic products; transportation equipment; machinery manufactures; miscellaneous manufactures; and agricultural products.
  • WASHINGTON:   Washington merchandise exports increased 8.4%, growing from $75.6 billion to $81.9 billion.  Key merchandise export categories include: transportation equipment; agricultural products; petroleum products; computer and electronic products; and food and kindred products.
  • LOUISIANA:  Louisiana merchandise exports increased 0.3%, growing from $62.9 billion to $63.1 billion. Key merchandise export categories include: petroleum products; agricultural products; chemicals; food and kindred products; and machinery manufactures.
  • MICHIGAN:  Michigan merchandise exports increased 2.6% growing from $57.0 billion to $58.5 billion. Key merchandise export categories include: transportation equipment; machinery manufactures; chemicals; computer and electronic products; and primary metal manufactures.
  • OHIO:  Ohio merchandise exports increased 3.9%, growing from $48.6 billion to $50.5 billion. Key merchandise export categories include: transportation equipment; machinery manufactures; chemicals; computer and electronic products; and fabricated metal products.
  • GEORGIA: Georgia merchandise exports increased 4.2%, growing from $36.1 billion to $37.6 billion.  Key merchandise export categories include: transportation equipment; machinery manufactures; chemicals; paper; and food and kindred products.
  • TENNESSEE:  Tennessee merchandise exports increased 4%, growing from $31.1 billion to $32.4 billion.  Key merchandise export categories include: transportation equipment; chemicals; computer and electronic products; miscellaneous manufactures; and machinery manufactures.
  • NORTH CAROLINA:  North Carolina merchandise exports increased 1.6%, growing from $28.8 billion to $29.3 billion.  Key merchandise export categories include: chemicals; machinery manufactures; transportation equipment; computer and electronic products; and textiles.
  • SOUTH CAROLINA:   South Carolina merchandise exports increased 4%, growing from $25.1 billion to $26.1 billion.  Key merchandise export categories include: transportation equipment; machinery manufactures; chemicals; plastics; and paper.

Every $1.00 billion creates 5,000 jobs in our country with ninety-five percent (95%) of the potential consumers lying outside our borders.  I personally believe the work ethic demonstrated on a daily basis by men and women in our country is the best in the world.  It always amazes me that many people never take ALL of the vacation time they have available, consequently losing a considerable number of days that cannot be “rolled over” into the next year.  These days are simply lost, which is absolutely unique to our country.  Many Western European countries take their “summer sport” and “winter sport” no matter what.  I have dealt with companies in Germany, Italy, Austria, Holland and others that literally close down during August of each year.  Everyone dealing with them knows that and plans for that certainty.

We could see a huge improvement in unemployment IF just the FED would agree to “buy American”.  Can you imagine the boost in employment?  It would be astounding and I can tell you from experience, the quality of purchases would improve tremendously.

I would love to get your thoughts on this topic.  Please drop me an e-mail and let me know what you think.


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