I think that I need to clarify a bit about the Moore's law about semiconductors and integrated circuits. Most of those advances that allowed for more transistors and tighter packaging were developments in the same manufacturing process, and all of them represented advances in the MANUFACTURING PROCESS. They were not the result of new discoveries or fundamentally new technologies, they have been process improvements.
The next change in betteries will need to be a fundamentally different technology, not just a process improvement. Process improvements will indeed bring us smaller and cheaper batteries, but not the large increase in capacity, (energy density) that we need in order to make electric cars a competitive reality. Some new chemistry or with elements that have a greater energy storage capacity, possibly lithium-flourine, may be a choice, except for the obvious tendancy toward explosion.
The worst thing would indeed be for those who don't have a clue as to what Moore's Law is really about to decide the future based on an assumption that the advances will come no matter what, and that we can be certain that the advances will be made "in time". That would be the setup for a serious dissapointment indeed.
Moore's Law IS just assuming that improvements will continue to happen.
Each company in Integrated Circuit design and manufacturing assumes that Moore's Law will continue, so they have been driven to compete by setting their goals for that level of improvement that Moore's Law predicts and then doing whatever it takes to get there.
There have been many obstacles since 1965 when Moore wrote that prediction that became Moore's Law, but the industry plowed through those obstacles. While the geometric shrinking has been the main method of achieving increased density, that is becoming too costly, so vertically sandwitching multiple layers of transistors is being attempted. There are already manufacturers tooling up for that. When that happens, density will double - and then more verticle layers will be added - and so on.
The advances in processors have all been in production technique, not in fundamental breakthroughs. There is a big difference there. Probably production advances will improve reliability and possibly reduce cost, but breakthroughs are different.
And PLEASE don't get anything started where folks just assume that improvements will just continue to happen. That would be a pain to deal with.
Ahhh, I remember the company now. They joined with Dow to form Dow Kokam Battery. Kokam has a patented construction method that keeps the battery "safe". I recall seeing a demo video. Check out http://www.dowkokam.com/tech-cells.htm
That wasn't a lithium-polymer battery! It was an SLA (sealed lead-acid) one, and it was made by Gates (as I recall) quite a few years ago. They were the first to use a "super-gelled" electrolyte to make an extremely leak-proof cell structure. I saw a demo (of a nail being driven through one of their batteries which continued to deliver full power to a load!) at Comdex in Atlanta back in the 1980's. Very impressive!
The increased energy capacity combined with the lighter weight and the high discharge rates of Lithium Ion batteries has completely transformed certain areas of model airplane flying. Using battery power instead of gasoline or other liquid fuels has been played with for a long time but the emergency of the Lithium Ion in a soft, flexible (and lower weight) has completely transformed the hobby. Many fliers of Radio Controlled (R/C) planes have completely switched over to electric power (I know that I have) for planes ranging from very, very small (sub-ounce weights) to very large aircraft.
Electric propulsion systems have also expanded into control line planes (U/C - planes which fly with lines attached) and free flight (just fire them up and launch them into the air!). Absolutely amazing and quite liberating - no starters, no fuel cans, pumps, batteries for glow plugs, etc. Wonderful.
Of course there has been a bit of learning curve for the hobby. We needed new safety procedures (there is a lot of energy in a charged battery and they have been known to break into flame), new ways (using electronic speed controllers) to control motor speed, new brushless motors for high speed and high output applications, special battery chargers (seems like every battery chemistry has it's own special requirements for charging and maintenance) and the like.
The new composites manufacturing innovation center is intended to be a source of grand challenges for industry, like the kind that got us to the moon under JFK. These aren't the words its new CEO Craig Blue used, but that's the idea and the vision behind the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).
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