To test a 9V battery's charge, my older brother made me touch the terminals with my tongue. If I jumped, the battery still had voltage. If I stood still, it was dead. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) built a new, state-of-the-art battery testing facility to do the job instead. The group hopes the facility will help engineers design better battery modules and packs for vehicles of the future. Predicting, measuring and controlling the temperature of batteries used in electric vehicles or hybrid electric vehicles can help improve vehicle performance by 20 to 30 percent. The core of the facility is a uniquely developed calorimeter and cycler. The calorimeter, an enclosed device that measures heat generation in any battery material under a variety of conditions, allows for the control of outside, ambient heat sources that could affect thermal reading from the battery. The cycler both charges and draws current from a battery, allowing for thermal testing of any voltage. It can also be used to test the performance and life cycles of battery modules and packs. Researchers use thermal imaging techniques to visually evaluate the behavior of modules under a variety of cycling profiles. Heat transfer and fluid flow experiments are used to design battery packs. The laboratory's computer-aided design expertise can project thermal performance of modules and packs and address structural and packaging issues. NREL's techniques can also be applied to fuel cells, ultra-capacitors, and energy storage for power tools. Visit: www.ctts.nrel.gov/BTM.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Advertised as the "Most Powerful Tablet Under $100," the Kindle Fire HD 6 was too tempting for the team at iFixit to pass up. Join us to find out if inexpensive means cheap, irreparable, or just down right economical. It's teardown time!
The increased adoption of wireless technology for mission-critical applications has revved up the global market for dynamic electronic general purpose (GP) test equipment. As the link between cloud networks and devices -- smartphones, tablets, and notebooks -- results in more complex devices under test, the demand for radio frequency test equipment is starting to intensify.
Much of the research on lithium-ion batteries is focused on how to make the batteries charge more quickly and last longer than they currently do, work that would significantly improve the experience of mobile device users, as well EV and hybrid car drivers. Researchers in Singapore have come up with what seems like the best solution so far -- a battery that can recharge itself in mere minutes and has a potential lifespan of 20 years.
Some humanoid walking robots are also good at running, balancing, and coordinated movements in group settings. Several of our sports robots have won regional or worldwide acclaim in the RoboCup soccer World Cup, or FIRST Robotics competitions. Others include the world's first hockey-playing robot and a trash-talking Scrabble player.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.