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.
Researchers have been working on a number of alternative chemistries to lithium-ion for next-gen batteries, silicon-air among them. However, while the technology has been viewed as promising and cost-effective, to date researchers haven’t managed to develop a battery of this chemistry with a viable running time -- until now.
Norway-based additive manufacturing company Norsk Titanium is building what it says is the first industrial-scale 3D printing plant in the world for making aerospace-grade metal components. The New York state plant will produce 400 metric tons each year of aerospace-grade, structural titanium parts.
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