Dr. Robert Hebner, the director of the University of Texas' center for electromechanics, is working with flywheel batteries and attempting to reduce the size and weight of battery power on the international space station through advances in materials research and controls. "Our work involves making composites used for the flywheel that are stronger and lighter than steel," says Hebner. "We do all the processing and testing too," he says. Hebner hopes to have the project, which is managed by the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, complete in five years when the current space station batteries need replacing. NASA estimates the savings to the space station program will exceed $200 million. For more information, contact Dr. Hebner at (512) 232-1628 or e-mail email@example.com.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
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 radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.