Engineers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are designing a personal cooling system for the Navy that circulates chilled air through the flight suits and helmets of fighter pilots. Unlike other approaches that circulate chilled water, the new system augments the body's natural cooling system. "Instead of simply cooling the skin through a fabric, our approach removes heat from the body surface and provides cool air to breathe," says James Klett. He points out that the lungs have large surface areas for dissipating heat and blood serves as an effective heat transfer medium. The enabling technology for the cooling system uses the high thermal conductivity of a new graphite foam developed by Klett and his team. "Thermal conductivity is basically how fast heat is transferred through a material," says Klett. The foam is as thermally conductive as aluminum. However, the thermal conductivity-to-weight ratio is five times better than aluminum. "So if you put an ice cube on a block of graphite foam and another on a block of aluminum, you would feel the ice 5 times faster," says Klett. The foam reduces heat losses and improves efficiencies. Potential applications include suits worn by firefighters, racecar drivers, hazardous materials workers, and ground troops. For more information contact, contact Bill Corwin at (865) 574-1000 or visit www.ornl.gov.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.