Solid Electrolyte Batteries – The Next Big Thing?!
Battery cells with a solid electrolyte promise high energy densities. Batteries in electric cars could thus become smaller and lighter – and the range could increase. But when is an open question we here try to answer. Our contributor Christoph M. Schwarzer spoke to experts to analyse the current situation for electrive. Whether and when all-solid-state batteries reach series production is an open question that companies are racing to close. “We have entered a new age,” announced Shigeki Terashi in June. According to the high-ranking Toyota manager, progress has exceeded expectations. They want to present a battery with solid electrolyte for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The statement led to euphoria: Japanese corporate culture prefers the understatement. If Toyota speaks of a breakthrough, then there should be something to it. And indeed, the series production of an all-solid-state battery would be a revolution in cell chemistry that so far has only developed evolutionarily. However, everyone involved is a long way from achieving this. A look at the small print at Toyota also shows that. The announcement of several cooperations had prompted Terashi’s statement. Among other things, Toyota plans to establish a joint venture for the development of solid-state batteries “by the end of 2020” with its long-standing partner Panasonic, which manufactures the nickel-metal hydride batteries for the company’s hybrid cars. This careful formulation alone shows how far one is from series production. Nevertheless, industry and researchers agree: the opportunities are high, and the potential of All-Solid-State is outstanding. A vital evaluation criterion for battery cells is energy density. One has to differentiate between the gravimetric unit watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg) and the volumetric unit watt-hours per litre (Wh/l). Typical cells are 250 Wh/kg and over 600 Wh/l. Both parameters are essential: the weight because it reflects the batteries’ worst disadvantage, namely the extreme use of materials. According to BMW, a good 60 per cent of electrical energy is recuperated during deceleration – but this also means that more than a third is lost. The ballast of an electric car is, therefore, less important than that of a conventional vehicle, but it is by no means indifferent from an energy perspective either. Volumetric energy density, on the other hand, is relevant as the trend towards more and more capacity enlarges the space required for installation. As with Volkswagen’s modular electrification kit (MEB), this space is best found between the axles but is naturally limited. Up to 70 per cent more volumetric energy density The introduction of solid electrolytes could increase gravimetric energy density by 40 per cent, and volumetric energy density by 70 per cent, Dr Johannes Kasnatscheew of Forschungszentrum Jülich explains in the interview with electrive. The scientist first worked on liquid electrolytes and now is a specialist for solid electrolyte batteries: “We are looking for the material that enables the best compromise.” There are inorganic electrolytes such as ceramics and glasses as well as organic electrolytes such as polymers. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Reasonable conductivity, high mechanical robustness, but very high contact resistances during charging and discharging characterise inorganic solid electrolytes. The current flowing is still too low. Organic solid electrolytes, on the other hand, have less contact resistance, but low conductivity. At congresses, scientists continue to discuss the suitability of compounds. At present, sulfid-based inorganic ceramic solid electrolytes are the favourite in terms of conductivity. The lithium metal anode is the key In current batteries, the liquid electrolyte is the inactive medium in which the lithium ions migrate between the cathode and anode. However, the highlight of solid electrolytes is not the simple replacement in the sense of an exchange: “With solid electrolytes, we can realise lithium metal instead of graphite-based anodes,” explains Dr Johannes Kasnatscheew. This is the only way to make significant progress in energy density. If this were to work, it would also drastically improve the use of energy in production and thus the CO2 balance: Today, drying is a complex and energy-intensive process. This would at least be superfluous on the anode side when using solid electrolytes because the foil is from lithium metal. This also reduces toxicity. When asked how he classifies the prospects for implementation, Kasnatscheev replies diplomatically: “Solid electrolytes are very promising, but remain challenging.” The success of solid electrolyte batteries is dubious Electrive spoke with other experts in the industry. They expect to see neither the series production nor the installation into a series car before 2025. So far, there has been no sample of solid electrolyte batteries that could beat current products in terms of their properties. Besides, it first would need to be shown, how pure lithium metal anodes could be produced safely and in mass. At the same time, it is clear that billions of lithium-ion cells with liquid electrolytes are being built without any significant difficulties. Their development does not stop either; there is a permanent evolutionary improvement. A replacement of the current lithium-ion generation, according to one expert, is not up for discussion. Nevertheless, the research and development of all-solid-state batteries do not belong in the fairytale realm of promising miracles. The seriousness with which many people around the world are working and the transparency demanded by scientific institutes are no guarantee for success, but proof that there is a well-founded rational hope for change and the Next Big Thing. ELECTRIVE.COM
Oil and Additive Compatibility
Lubricant additives were developed to enhance the existing characteristics of the base oil(s) a lubricant is formulated with, to reduce the deficiencies of the base oils(s) or impart new performance characteristics. Engine oils were the first lubricants to be formulated with additives. They have been and still are the largest market segment for lubrication. So, it is no surprise that most of the research and development efforts have been placed on engine oil enhancement. In 1911, the American Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) established the oil classification system. This was related only to oil viscosity and not performance. Until the 1930s, engine oils did not contain any additives. They were only base oils. Prior to the introduction of additive chemistry, the oil drain intervals were 750 miles. Due to increasing consumer demands and economic pressures, internal combustion engines became more sophisticated. Engine oils were becoming increasingly stressed and challenges on their performance reserves gave rise to a need for additives. The first oil additive developed was the pourpoint depressant. These acrylate polymers were developed in the mid-1930s. Anti-wear additives such as zincdithiophosphate were introduced in the early 1940s followed by corrosion inhibitors and then sulfonate detergents. The sulfonate detergents were found to provide acid neutralization as well as oxidation inhabitation as well as rust and corrosion inhabitation. In 1932, the American Petroleum Institute (API) established a specification system for engine oil performance classification. This is an important consideration because it is the only system by which a lubricant can be deemed compatible with another from a different manufacturer without the need to test compatibility. As long as the oils are of the same viscosity grade and have the same API classification and SAE viscosity, the oils are compatible; the user can mix oils if need be. This is not the case for other lubricants. When mixing different lubricants, an adverse reaction may occur between two oils at certain working conditions in a system. This is considered ‘lubricant incompatibility’. Most often the cause of incompatibility is the neutralization of an acidic additive in one oil by an alkaline additive in the other oil. The result is that the additives react with each other instead the metal surface, particle or free radicals in the oil. The newly formed compound become ineffective and precipitate (drop out). Most all additives are polar which is what drives this reaction. This is by design. The polarity affords surface reaction as well as contamination reactions all that benefit the asset. During the reaction of incompatibility, often a soap forms that can precipitate a grease-like gel that interferes with lubrication and oil flow. However, mixed oils may not always lead to incompatibility issues. They can exist without precipitation or reaction in an operating system for an indefinite period until water is introduced. Water can quickly lead to a reaction between the polar additives. Iron and copper found on the molecular level can act as catalysts in these reactions. Incompatibility reactions are not reversible. Removing water by drying the system and the oil does not remove the formed gel or eliminate the soap. Typically, acidic additives can be found in gear, hydraulic and some circulating oils. Alkaline based additives are used in engine oils. There are some additives that are neither acidic nor basic but neutral, these types of additives are used in compressors and refrigeration oils. Additives that are acidic are identified as being strong acids and will react faster than acids that are formed during the initiation stage of oxidation which are typically carboxylic acids or nitric acids and are weak acids due to the limited number to protons donated. Weak acids react slower than strong acids. This is the reason why oils that have incompatible additive chemistry react so fast. Additives are not the only culprit. Propylene glycols, polyglycols, phosphate esters, polyol esters base oils have fair to poor compatibility with mineral oil-based lubricants. While these oils may not for solid substances, they may form a sludge. Many will not mix with the mineral based lubricants. ALSGLOBAL
Is Fiber Laser Cutting the Right Solution for Your Application?
CO2 Vs. Fiber Laser Cutting In recent years, laser cutting of sheet metals has been dominated by the use of fiber laser cutting machines. The main reasons include process reliability-- there's no cut degradation due to the misalignment or contamination of mirrors-- higher cutting speeds, the ability to cut reflective metals such as copper and brass, freedom from maintenance, and lower cost of ownership. CO2 lasers, however, have shown a smoother cut edge for some thicker materials (typically > 0.25” [6 mm]). That being said, this advantage is diminishing as advances in the high power fiber lasers and beam/gas delivery techniques are showing promises to close this gap. Is Fiber Laser Cutting the Right Solution for Your Application? Fiber laser systems have established their capability to cut metals at high quality and accommodate intricate geometries of parts, which are challenging to other processes. However, when it comes to final decision to use a fiber laser cutting machine for their project, customers usually focus on the additional aspects that are specific to their case, including is a specific system is able to handle their parts’ tolerances and the question on if it is economical to use a specific fiber laser systems to product their parts. Below we discuss these two questions at a top level. Can Fiber Laser Cutting Handle Your Part's Tolerances? Factors such as kerf size, taper, surface roughness, heat input of the process, and the variability of the process during the long production runs eventually determine in practice if you can hold parts within a tight tolerance. Combination of small kerf, low heat input, good surface finish, and stable cutting makes fiber lasers a safe choice when it comes to cutting precise parts. The cutting precision partly depends on the motion system of the cutting machine. Is Fiber Laser Cutting Economically Viable for Your Next Project? The capital costs and running costs of cutting processes are very different. Given the high speed and reliability of fiber lasers, and depending on the dosage of sheet metal cutting, they typically come ahead of other processes in terms of cost per part. In addition, fiber lasers have made economical parts that were not possible before (when using older generation of lasers or any other technique.) Availability of increasing laser power at a lower cost year after year will shift the cost calculation in favor of fiber laser cutting even more in the foreseeable future. CAMMMETALS
Fuel Filter Plugging
ALS Tribology receives regular inquiries regarding problems with prematurely fuel filter plugging. Inquiries have originated from both users of conventional middle distillate fuel and from those using biodiesel blends. The majority of these fuel filters were heavily contaminated with a black substance. Analysis of this black substance revealed that the predominant contamination species noted was carbon particulate. Carbon contamination Carbon contamination can originate from a variety of sources. Carbon flake material can gain entry into the fuel system by seal degradation and wear. Carbon particulate is a contaminant that accumulates in fuel systems as the fuel naturally degrades over time. This degradation is caused by the inherent instability of fuel. Distillate fuel will degrade over time. Soluble gum material will begin to form as fuel ages and develop into insoluble carbon sediment. The degree and rate which this occurs is dependent upon the stability of the fuel in storage. An excess of carbon particulate may build up in fuel filters as the fuel system releases the particulate that developed over time. Biodiesel and biodiesel blends are known to have a solvency effect that may facilitate the release of accumulated carbon deposits in fuel systems and may necessitate more frequent filter changes. Fuel solvency also plays a role, as fuels are often mixed, and the different solvency characteristics may allow solubilized contaminants to become insoluble and drop out of solution. Two fuels—both with good individual stability—could produce a product with poor stability. Effects This solvency effect is more prevalent when blending biodiesel blends, as the solvency of biodiesel is much greater than distillate fuel. The reduced solvency of the biodiesel blend may facilitate soluble material in the biodiesel portion to become insoluble and drop out of solution, which would increase the filter plugging potential. Excessive carbon particulate may be generated in the fuel system if the fuel has poor thermal stability, resulting in increased filter plugging potential. In general, fuel systems are designed to return the uncombusted portion of the fuel back to the tank. This returned fuel is has been pressurized and heated, which promotes polymerization and breakdown of the fuel. This creates the carbon particulate that is primarily composed of organic material and has very low ash content. As more fuel is pressurized, heated, and recirculated, the amount of carbon particulate generated increases, causing possible injector failure and filter plugging. To prevent this source of filter plugging, the fuels must have good thermal stability. Another troubles Oxidation and polymerization reaction by-products can cause corrosion and accelerate the natural fuel degradation process. This degradation material may be insoluble in the fuel and can accelerate fuel filter plugging. Metals are also known to promote and catalyze oxidation and polymerization reactions of hydrocarbons. Poor tank housekeeping will also lead to excessive fuel filter plugging. Microorganisms require water to grow and, since most microbial growth occurs at the fuel water interface, keeping fuel systems dry will greatly reduce the likelihood of microbial contamination and its related problems. One of the potential problems with microbial contamination is increased filter plugging potential. The waste created by microbial growth rather than the microbes themselves create a potential cause of premature filter plugging. If there is a known water contamination issue in a fuel system, we recommend that you check for microbial contamination. ALSGLOBAL
4 Reasons to Adopt Oil Analysis in Railway Equipment
The predictive maintenance of railway assets should happen frequently and meticulously. This is because the machines and the railway equipment, in general, carry a great amount of loads for long stretches. If any mechanical failure occurs, it can cause great damage to companies. As for example, delay in deliveries and loss of products loaded. For companies to avoid irreparable problems like these, the indication is to invest in oil analysis . This technique assists in the detection of early wear symptoms components of locomotives and other railway equipment. In addition, it helps to understand the particularities of wear generated by the friction between the metal parts.Oil analysis allows accurate analysis of the lubricant in the laboratory in a timely manner so that the information can be useful to the railway maintenance team. Preventive maintenance is a way to increase equipment life simply by good management. Check out some of the benefits of performing oil analysis in rail equipment correctly: Lower maintenance cost Chemical and physical analyzes of oil samples taken from a locomotive engine may indicate the condition wear of such railway equipment and other components, such as drive or hydraulic systems. In addition, other types of oil analysis such as testing for the presence of water or other contaminants in locomotive engines provide additional indication of engine condition and any other related mechanical failure. With this, it is possible to repair the problems before the defects become worse and generate damages for both the companies that transport and their customers. Long service life With oil analysis, it is possible to identify the need for filter and oil changes. In this way, the equipment is kept in good working condition without abnormalities. This will positively impact the life of the railway equipment. By adopting the oil analysis in preventive maintenance, it may contain the loss of any machine or component of the engine system due to some undetected or prevented failure, in addition to causing the locomotive not to be damaged by poor maintenance management . Greater availability With the oil analysis of the railway equipment, the assets will be less susceptible to failures and, consequently, to be paralyzed. In this way, companies can rely on their locomotives running efficiently for longer, presenting fewer problems or defects. Lubricant saving Oil is used in locomotives as a lubricant to reduce friction between moving parts of a mechanical system. This fluid is considered pure because it is usually the first item to be added to the engine of a railway equipment. However, over time, the chemical corrosion of the engine causes the oil to be contaminated. Analysis of the oil in these situations causes the lubricant to be replaced at the optimum time. Neither prior to its standard use nor after its stated durability. Conclusion Oil analysis is one of the main predictive maintenance tools for companies that use rail equipment in their operations. With a precise diagnosis from the oil analysis in hand, your company’s maintenance team will be able to identify errors more quickly. In addition to anticipating problems, and thus avoid compromising performance and the quality of service offered. ALSGLOBAL
3D Printers implement cutting edge technology, with additive processes that are helping to revolutionize the manufacturing industry. They can build anything from the ground up, allowing for far less design restrictions than with CNC machining. Additive Manufacturing allows users to produce complex functional shapes using less material than traditional manufacturing. These complex machines can greatly improve the prototyping process, making prototypes more precise while reducing production time and costs. In years past, someone would sketch out his or her ideas on paper or detail the project design in CAD. From there, the product is crafted from metal. Now, 3D printing technology has evolved the prototyping process to be faster, less expensive and more precise. Companies now have the opportunity to evaluate a design through additive manufacturing, allowing them to analyze and improve on design with minimal investment. The additive process of 3D Printing can also greatly reduce the waste produced during the manufacturing process. The result of this waste reduction is a more efficient manufacturing process, allowing for smarter work within our shop and shorter lead times for your finished product. 3D printing offers incredible opportunities and possibilities for numerous industries, especially in the case of medical technology and prototyping. When a client needs a single highly customized part, this tool can do the job effectively. It is an excellent choice for one-off products like prototypes and small-scale custom products. CAMMMETALS
The Importance of Washers in Gear Motors
Washers are essential parts of geared motors which support a clamping load or act as spacers. Discover in this article more about their importance and characteristics. What are washers and what are their features? Washers are mounting elements that generally have the shape of a thin disc with a central hole, although it is also possible to find washers with a star structure as well as with internal or external teeth. They are usually made of metal or plastic and the main feature they possess is related to their functionality. For example, in the case of screws with high quality heads, washers of some type of hard metal are required to prevent loss of pre-load once the torque is applied. On the other hand, the sealing gaskets, which are used in lids and joints to prevent the leakage of liquids such as water, oil and others, are usually the same as a washer but their function is different. Types of washers Each of the components that are essential for the proper functioning of the machinery or gearmotors must be of the right quality and have the right functionality. Therefore, being able to recognize the different types of washers and their possible uses allows you to make wise decisions regarding the choice of one or the other, thus avoiding future problems such as rapid wear and tear or the destruction of the component. Next, we will explain the different types of washers that exist and the diversity of uses that each one of them has. Flat iron washers These are usually the most requested due to their functionality: they are used mainly to complement screws, even those with hexagonal head. They can have different shapes based on the role they play round or square-shaped, made from metal and wood, etc. Serrated washers These are mostly composed of carbon. And you can easily identify them, since they are black and have many dents. Their use is intended to reduce the usual friction and thus prevent the wood-on-wood joint or soft metals, such as aluminum, from loosening. Rubber washers They are used to prevent loosening of the bolted joint and the material. They are used with steel-on-steel, wood-on-wood or steel-on-wood. Security washers or lock rings for shafts or holes Their main function is to guarantee retention for shafts or holes. Belleville washer or conical spring washer This is a conical washer whose purpose is to prevent the loss of preload that can occur between the screw and the nut. In this way, one of the two parts is kept fixed and very firm against the usual vibrations of some machinery. EPDM washer These are mixed since they are composed of steel and rubber. They are used to prevent water filtrations, especially in decks. They are also used for water radiator seals, specifically in valves when a radiator is purged. This type of use is due to the fact that they are highly resistant to high water temperatures. Washers for materials such as plaster or cardboard Their main characteristic is that they favor a slight tightening of its edges, managing to reform the union of the material to be immobilized. Grower washers This type of washer is different from the rest because it is split. They can be made of blued steel, which allows them to be easily distinguished by their dark shade and, in addition, one of their ends is higher than the other. Its most important function is that it exerts extra pressure between both surfaces, achieving extreme firmness and more safely preventing the joints from loosening due to the spring system they have. Because of this great capacity, not only do they prevent a nut from unscrewing, but they also prevent the parts involved in the adjustment from losing pressure. Functionality of washers and their importance The main function of washers is to join nuts and bolt heads in order to maximize the fit and to support a balanced clamping load between the surfaces. There are also other uses that clearly demonstrate how advantageous they are for the proper functioning of machinery and geared motors: Protecting the surfaces that come into contact and as a safety device. Distributing adjustment force in different areas of the screw or nut used. Reducing the risk of distension of the bolted joint by increasing friction through specific washers such as serrated or grooved. Compensating the parallelism when it is in fault, achieving that the pressure of tightening does not fall on a single point damaging the material. As spacers for the parts used. As springs between the pieces. Preventing galvanic corrosion through insulation of metal screws from aluminum surfaces. As preload indicators. In conclusion, washers have multiple functions and provide great operational benefits. At CLR, we understand that products must have quality in order for each project to be successful. That is why we design and manufacture components such as washers according to European quality standards, ensuring maximum precision in the use of each type of product. CLR
How to Make Electric Vehicles Safer and Cheaper? Start by Analyzing the Battery
The number of electric and hybrid cars passed 5 million in 2018, and is expected to reach 44 million by 2030, according to a recent International Energy Agency report. A growing proportion of these vehicles (45 percent) were in China, Europe was in second place with 24 percent and the US pulled in third place with 22 percent. The main reason the numbers aren’t higher may be simple economics. The battery in an electric vehicle is its single most expensive component, says Dr. Peiran Ding, who leads ESI’s software development for EV battery simulations. Replacement of the Li-ion battery pack in a Chevy Bolt battery pack, for example, will cost an estimated $15,000. Tesla’s Model S 60 KW-hour battery is estimated to cost $35,000 in 2017, or over 40 percent of the car’s sticker price. While that price may have gone down after Tesla built its own battery production facility, we expect the cost is still significant.Clearly a cheaper battery is needed so that EVs can get into the hands of more drivers. Enter the pouch cell. Most batteries are designed to be solid, with a built-in structure. In contrast, the pouch cell is designed with little structure, which promises a lighter weight, less material, and a 90 to 95 percent packing efficiency. Most EVs sold in the US have an 8-year warranty on the batteries, and there is considerable interest by the EV car companies to make sure the batteries go the distance so they do not have to replace the batteries early. Insurance companies are also interested in the integrity of EV’s Li-ion batteries and who has to pay for replacement costs, as well as cost and damages for injuries, loss of life and property damage resulting from EV’s occasionally bursting into flame. Though catching fire is a rare event for EVs, it gets a lot of media attention when it does occur, casting a long and lasting shadow on EVs. Ironically, gasoline powered vehicles catch fire an average of 167 times a day in the US alone. Still, 31 percent of the general public worries about the safety of electric cars, according to recent research. EV Battery Degradation and Short Circuits Can Cause Fires—Putting Passenger Lives at Risk The reasons to replace batteries are mainly battery degradation, or a short circuit that causes a thermal runaway. Lithium-Ion cell discharging, showing separator. (Picture courtesy of OSHA.) A lithium-ion battery creates power by its positive lithium ions moving from a cathode through a separator to the anode. The separator is a thin polymer sheet that keeps the positive material from being in direct contact with the negative material. This separator is porous to the liquid electrolyte, however, which allows the lithium ions to pass back and forth as the battery charges and discharges. A short circuit occurs when the separator fails, and the cathodes and anodes come into direct contact. This generates enough heat to cause a fire in the cell. Fire in one cell can damage the separators in neighboring cells, causing a thermal runaway. Thermal runaway leading to smoke, fire and explosion in an EV battery. (Picture courtesy of Tsinghua University, Beijing.) Separator failure can occur after a collision. The separators can tear from excessive deformation, such as the mechanical abuse from a crash or a road hazard. Separators can also be pierced by dendrite growth inside the cells. Dendrites are microscopic lithium crystals that are thin as hairs and sharp as needles, and which grow from the anode during overcharging a lithium-ion battery. Excessive temperature, such as from a fire, can melt or collapse the separators. All these failure mechanisms will cause a thermal runaway and lead to smoke, fire or even an explosion. Battery Safety versus Battery Weight—A Vicious Circle Clearly battery and automotive manufacturers need a strategy to increase the safety of EVs – as well as ease the worry of the car-buying public. For Dr. Ding, this is a three-pronged approach: The intrinsic safety of lithium-ion battery materials can be improved by material modification. An early detection algorithm can warn the driver of an impending fault. For example, after a crash, the battery management system would sense rapid over-charging or discharging of the battery cells. Countermeasures can be activated to reduce or slow down the fire hazard. To protect the consumer, government agencies have mandated minimum safety standards for EV battery cells, packs and whole vehicles with several test criteria, including external short circuits, abnormal charge, forced discharge, shock and vibration and temperature cycling. Depending on the governing agency—such as the UN, IEC or ISO—there could be additional criterium for impact, crushing, heating, drop and more. An EV’s battery is huge. A Tesla Model S, at 4,800 lbs. (2,200 kg) is one heavy car. By comparison, a Mercedes E350 is only 3,800 lbs. The difference is almost entirely the 1,200 lbs. battery. Slung underneath the vehicle, the weight makes for good stability, but the Tesla Model S has to bolt on a titanium shield to protect it against road hazards. Without protection, a rock, curb stone or debris could penetrate into the battery cells and cause a thermal runaway; however, the extra shielding makes the car even heavier. The car also needs additional structure to absorb impact, and heavy batteries means heavy-duty connection to the frame. This leads to extra weight, which in turn means the battery has to get bigger. It’s a vicious circle. Battery Simulation and Homogenized Cell Modeling Without Supercomputers EV battery simulation occurs at scales as small as the physics of ions and the growth of dendrites. It occurs on the scale of cell components and is understood by the science of continuum mechanics and fracture mechanics. A structural analysis of the battery cell, modules and pack, can be done with finite elements on the macro scale. The whole vehicle’s crash-worthiness usually takes place at a system scale. Battery module. (Picture courtesy of Farasis.) The mechanical behavior of a battery pack or module, such as the displacement, stress and strain, depends on the mechanical behavior of its constitutional battery cells. This in turn depends on the behavior of the components of the cells—the anodes, separators, cathodes and plastic film. However, the number of elements required to have accurate cell model behavior could be in the millions. Modeling all the cells that exist in a battery pack or module with the same size of elements would result in hundreds of millions, or even billions of elements. “Even supercomputers can’t handle that size of a model,” says Dr. Ding. In order to overcome this challenge, experts from China’s Tsinghua University and ESI have been collaborating to develop a method that would define a mechanical property of a single battery cell as an average of the properties of all of the components in the cell. Researchers at Tsinghua are currently calibrating the numerical method with test data. Homogenized cell modeling would bring down the size of the finite element model to where it could fit in available computer resources. Farasis: No Cars Were Hurt in Our Testing Farasis Energy, a Chinese-American lithium-ion battery developer, had secured $1 billion in financing and was looking for customers. This search led them to a German automotive OEM. Farasis used ESI’s Virtual Performance Solution (VPS) to determine the behavior of the battery in vibration and in vehicle crash situations. They used no physical prototypes, only digital prototypes, and it was a technical knockout. The OEM was impressed. No crash-test dummies, cars or batteries were hurt in the process. Farasis will be building a $660 million battery production facility in eastern Germany to produce lithium-ion batteries for the German automotive OEM. “Halfway through the bidding process, the manufacturer actually decided to remove the physical prototype altogether – they would base their decision based on the virtual prototype only,” said Dr. Matt Klein, Advanced R&D Director at Farasis Energy. The crash tests that the Farasis battery had to withstand were brutal. Among them, the battery and vehicle had to survive a side impact with a pole. They had also to pass frequency and resonance tests, as well as shock in all directions. These tests are required by various national government agencies. . A single battery model can thus be assessed in the statics, dynamic or vibration physics domain with ESI Virtual Performance Solution. This enables efficient iteration on casing geometry and materials, joint number and location to ensure a lean and lightweight battery design. “The ability to build a single finite element model for crush, shock, vibration and swelling, led to a highly efficient workflow and ultimately a cost-effective solution for Farasis,” says Dr. Ding. The displacements in the battery module. (Picture courtesy of Farasis.) Passing Strict National Regulations on Battery and EV Car Using Only Digital Prototypes—A Technical Breakthrough A simulation of a lithium battery system, like that shown above, illustrates how the inside a lithium-ion battery cell is a honeycomb structure, which by its nature is stiff along one axis (longitudinal) and less stiff along the other axes. A metal thermal fin conducts heat to the outside of the battery module. The simulation moves up to an analysis of the battery module which calls for a finite element model with 1.5 million solid and shell elements anywhere from 1 to 4 mm in size. The simulation is only possible because averaging the mechanical properties and materials over a cell allows for a much smaller, more manageable and solvable model of 10,000 solid hexahedral elements per cell. The simulation models the way the cells are packed into a 23-inch long battery module, which is used to model the module being rammed by a virtual pole against what would be the front and side directions of the vehicle. The battery module is subjected to a 60G, 14 ms shock in all directions to make sure it will not break from its mounting points or suffer internal damage. In order to overcome this challenge, ESI is leading a work package on AI based design for Crash in the frame of the Upscale project, which involved car manufacturers like Volkswagen and CRF, tests centers and universities. The objective of the Upscale project (Upscaling Product development Simulation Capabilities exploiting Artificial Intelligence for Electrified Vehicles) is to apply AI-methods to reduce the development time (20%) and increase the performance of electric vehicles (EVs). A realistic kinematic load database will be built based on vehicle load cases from regulations to ensure suitable training data. A detailed cell model will be used for linking the load cases with stiffness and internal failure risk. Its results will enable to build a reduced model of the cell with AI. The reduced model will then be validated on full car crash simulations. ESI has done considerable research in multiscaling, where equivalent material properties are applied to structurally complex structures of a lesser scale. Macroscale methods are key to solving battery module and pack models in the time available – or solving them at all. ESI’s intent, achieved after much simulation and validation, is to make sure multiscaling is done accurately. Their reputation in the realm of crash testing depends on it. ESI is a pioneer in crash simulation—one that is now relied on by most, if not all, of the major automotive companies to do virtual crash testing. Now, ESI appears to have extended its advantage to virtual crash testing of electric vehicle battery systems ENGINEERING.COM
Apple Faced Numerous Issues in an Attempt to Replace Assembly Line Workers with Robots
We’ve all seen Apple’s disassembly robot Daisy, but did you know that the company has also tried to automate its assembly lines using robots? A new report claims that the Cupertino-based company’s attempts to replace humans with robots in the assembly line was met with limited success. Apple reportedly started assembling a team of automation and robotics experts at a secret lab in Sunnyvale, California, to find a way to reduce the number of workers in its product assembly lines. The team is said to have faced a lot of issues in designing robots that could imitate human capabilities. Building robots that can fasten screws is among the hardest tasks in the production line industry. A robot needs to pick up a screw at a specific angle and align it with a hole, and that requires multiple industrial cameras. Since Apple uses tiny screws in its products, robots had no way to measure the force that is needed to fasten those screws without breaking them. In comparison, humans can feel resistance using their hands when something is off. In other cases, like putting glue on the display panels, Apple’s guidelines are so strict that the adhesive must be placed within millimeters of the advised target spots. The report states that in many cases, well-trained Chinese workers turned out to be more proficient than robots. Most automation attempts were abandoned as the company found them to be more trouble than it was worth. However, for some simpler products like the Apple Watch, Apple TV, and the iPad, Apple had some success. In 2014, Apple had to delay the launch of the 12-inch MacBook due to the challenges it faced during assembly automation. In early trials that involved using robots to assemble the 12-inch MacBook, conveyor systems reportedly moved erratically, slowing down the movement of parts. A robot that was meant to install the keyboard using 88 screws is said to have kept malfunctioning, and works had to intervene and rework most of the process. A few years ago, the company unveiled Daisy, a disassembly robot that could take apart 200 iPhones per hour, and sort parts for recycling. Our Take Although Apple did not meet with much success in completely replacing humans with robots, the company was able to automate specific parts of the assembly process. This means that it is possible that a few years down the line, the company could automate more sections of the process, leading to job losses. IPHONEHACKS
All About High Power Isolators!!
Power isolators can be defined as one type of mechanical switch that is used to isolate a fraction of the electrical circuit when needed. High power isolator switches are mainly used for opening an electrical circuit in the condition where it is no-load and is not to be opened while current flows through the line. Generally, high power isolators are placed on the circuit breaker at both the ends, and thus circuit breaker repair works can be done easily that too without any risk. On the other hand, 1064nm High Power Isolators can be used in substations so as to allow isolation of tools such as transformers, circuit breakers, etc. This kind of power isolation is furthermore needed in a number of instances including: *To prevent ground loops in various communication networks *To protect different industrial operators from high voltage problems *To enhance noise immunity in various operations *To protect costly processors and circuits from high voltage *To communicate with high side devices and tools in a power converter system How do power isolators work? The working of a power isolator is not that challenging and can be easily functioned in different ways including manual, semi-automatic, and fully automatic. Sometimes, they can also be used as switches that are closed and opened depending on the needs and demands of the operation. Plus, they are also used in a fixed position to keep the isolation in electrical transmission lines, grid stations, and transformers. What are the different types of power isolators? Typically, power isolators can be divided into three types, namely: *Double break type isolator- this type of isolator has major loads of post insulators where the middle one has a flat male contact or a tubular that is turned straight by a short spin. *Single break type isolator- in this type of isolator, the contact is separated into two elements, the female as well as male contact. *Pantograph type isolator- this type of high power isolator allows for a current switchgear installation, and includes an operating and post insulator. What is the major purpose of using high power isolators? The main purpose of high power isolators is to isolate one part of the circuit from the other. They are generally put on both the ends of the circuit breaker in a sequence that they make the replacement or repair of the circuit very easy and without any danger. It is not intended to be opened when current is flowing in the line. DK PHOTONICS
3D Printing with Carbon Fiber: Tracing the Lifecycle Thread
3D-printing carbon fiber is now a mainstay of the additive manufacturing (AM) industry. While companies like Impossible Objects seek to make large-scale carbon fiber a reality, Markforged and a number of filament suppliers have made 3D printing with this tough material commonplace. In this article, we will trace the carbon fiber that has been woven into the industry from its roots to its final applications and possible future. The Forging of Carbon Fiber About 90 percent of carbon fiber starts as a polymer called polyacrylonitrile (PAN), while the remaining 10 percent comes from rayon or petroleum pitch. PAN is derived via free radical polymerization of acrylonitrile, which is in turn a derivative of the hydrocarbon propylene, a byproduct of oil refining and the processing of natural gas. To create the fiber, the initial material, known as a “precursor,” is heated in air to a temperature of about 300°C in order to stabilize it for the next step, a process known as carbonization. In carbonization, the precursor material is drawn out into long strands and heated in an inert chamber, often filled with argon gas, to an immense heat of 2000 °C. The lack of oxygen prevents the material from burning and instead causes the non-carbon atoms to be expelled, leaving only sheets of carbon layered into a single strand of filament. One example of mass carbon fiber manufacturing. (Image courtesy of Despatch Industries.) Once this process is complete, the carbon fiber is oxidized via immersion in gas such as air, carbon dioxide or ozone, or in a liquid like sodium hypochlorite or nitric acid. This surface treatment occurs so that the carbon fiber can bond with other materials more readily. Finally, the strands are coated in epoxy, polyester, nylon, urethane or other adhesive to protect it during the winding or weaving process. Chopped vs. Continuous Carbon Fiber 3D Printing Whereas Markforged, as well as Russian firm Anispro, uses continuous strands of carbon fiber filament in its 3D-printing technology, every carbon fiber 3D-printing filament on the market relies on chopped carbon fiber. The difference between continuous and chopped carbon fiber is night and day. Filament made from chopped carbon fiber sees small shards of carbon fiber dispersed throughout a traditional 3D-printing polymer, such as nylon, ABS, PLA or PEEK. Continuous carbon fiber is tougher due to the fact that thousands of carbon fibers are bundled together in long strands rather than broken up and scattered throughout a predominantly plastic part. ColorFabb Carbon Fiber XT-CF20 3D-printing filament. (Image courtesy of ColorFabb.) According to one meta study, though plastic components made with continuous carbon fiber reinforcement actually have tensile and flexural strengths up to 6.3- and 5-times greater than non-reinforced parts, chopped carbon fiber components just have worse porosity than carbon-free parts. Stronger still may be 3D-printing processes that use traditional carbon fiber sheets. Once upon a time, EnvisionTEC had promised the release of a large-scale system capable of laying down sheets of reinforcement material, like carbon fiber, between layers of plastic, but we haven’t heard a peep about it since it was unveiled in 2016. Impossible Objects, however, has also promised a sheet-based 3D printing system, which binds stacks of reinforcement material together using polymer powders and then binds the layers together in an oven. Since the company received $6.4 million in Series A funding in 2017, the most recent news that’s come out about Impossible Objects is that Ford installed two of its systems in its operations in 2018. Since news about both of these companies has been released, another new carbon fiber 3D-printing technology has emerged from an Idaho-based company called Continuous Composites. The process, dubbed “Continuous Fiber 3D Printing (CF3D),”sees continuous strands of carbon fiber impregnated with a rapid curing thermoset plastic within the printhead and pulled out, at which point it is instantly cured using an energy source. The printhead is attached to an industrial robotic arm, allowing for six-axis control. The firm’s proprietary software leverages this ability to print objects with the optimal fiber orientation, something Stratasys and Siemens unveiled in 2016 but may or may not have delivered to market. Applications Carbon fiber is most used in the aerospace industry but is widespread in the automotive, sporting goods, civil engineering and electronics fields, as well. Frequently, the material is used to replace metal parts, reducing the weight and fuel consumption of an aircraft, automobile or other vehicle. For instance, the Airbus A350 is 52 percent carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) and the BMW i3 has mostly CFRP chassis. Carbon fiber is also used in high-end bike frames, tennis rackets and surfboards. You may also find it reinforcing bridges and retrofitting old structures. Carbon fiber sheets molded into parts at BMW’s press shop. (Image courtesy of BMW.) The aforementioned examples represent the use of traditional carbon fiber reinforcement, in which large swathes of carbon fiber fabric are laid into a mold, often manually, but, in the case of the aerospace industry, sometimes with mechanical assistance. This labor-intensive process makes the use of carbon fiber expensive. For that reason, 3D printing holds the potential for automating carbon fiber layup and lowering costs. At the moment, however, carbon fiber 3D printing is small in scale. Continuous carbon fiber 3D printing from Markforged is probably the most widely adopted, but it offers the build volume of only a desktop machine. This makes it suitable to replace metal tooling for manufacturing operations or producing custom auto parts, such as a gear shifter. Future There are cases of large-scale carbon fiber 3D printing in chopped form, namely the Big Area Additive Manufacturing system from Cincinnati Incorporated. The system was developed in part by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DoE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The technology has been used to 3D print entire vehicles using chopped carbon fiber-polymer composites. ORNL is currently working on the ability to print CFRP with greater carbon fiber content, so there may be large-scale carbon fiber 3D printing in the future. What ORNL’s technology doesn’t address is the environmental cost of carbon fiber. Given the amount of heat needed to form carbon fiber, the process is about 14 times as energy intensive as forging steel. However, the material can also cut fuel consumption in vehicles by reducing automobile weight by 30 percent and aircraft weight by 20 percent. This, of course, is a false choice that takes continued global vehicle usage for granted. Another way to reduce vehicle emissions would be to supplant private vehicle ownership with more public transit. A small addition to the emissions from the production process is the fact that PAN is a derivative of oil refining and gas processing in the first place. Plastic manufacturing makes up 1 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 3 percent of the country’s primary energy use. Not only is the role that plastics play an ecologically harmful one, but the supply of oil and natural gas will be increasingly difficult to access, potentially limiting the availability of carbon fiber in the future. According to one estimate, 30 percent of carbon fiber becomes waste. It is possible to recycle carbon fiber reinforced parts, with most scrap carbon fiber chopped or milled for reuse. Using a process called pyrolysis, CFRP components are heated up to 400 °C - 600 °C (adding more energy input to the lifespan of the material), burning off the polymer so that it is totally lost. The recovered fiber can be reused but not in structural applications. In the case that carbon fiber continues to be an industrial necessity, however, researchers are working to develop more sustainable forms. One possibility is the replacement of PAN with suitable polymers derived from naturally derived sugars, including waste plant materials. For the DoE, one team of researchers has been able to convert plant waste into 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP), which is then turned into a bioplastic known as acrylonitrile, capable of being used to create carbon fiber. This process has several benefits over traditional PAN-based carbon fiber in that the catalyst used is three times less expensive, no excess heat is generated and the only byproducts are non-toxic. Unlike petroleum-derived carbon fiber, which generates toxic hydrogen cyanide, acrylonitrile only produces water and alcohol as byproducts. Other possibilities for carbon fiber precursors include bioplastics made from cellulose or lignin. Like all bioplastics, however, plastic products may ultimately receive competition from land required for producing food in a world strained by rising populations and climate chaos. ENGINEERING.COM
3D Printing & Rapid Prototyping : Are They The Same?
There were still many peoples struggling about the rapid prototyping anf 3D printing, are they the same, or are they differerent with each other? The terms Rapid Prototyping and 3D printing are often used along each other. And they have similarities. For example, both rapid prototyping (RP) and 3D printing technologies build models layer by layer from STL data. But there are still some differences. Rapid Prototyping is the technical term for this kind of additive manufacturing process. 3D printing is the colloquial term for the same so that many people can grasp this technology easily. A not so accurate yet commonly perceived difference between Rapid Prototyping and 3D printing is that Rapid Prototyping is industrial level and 3D printing is consumer level additive manufacturing technology. 3D printing is a manufacturing process like milling and turning. Its also known as additive manufacturing because you are adding successive layers of material instead of to remove material like milling and turning. Just be aware that is not the same process for create a 3D model for 3D printing than for milling or turning. Rapid prototyping is a method to quickly create a scale model of a part or finished product, using a computer-aided design (CAD) software. Manufacturing of the part is mainly done with 3D printing or additive layer manufacturing technology. Drawback of 3D printers is that these printers are less accurate. Also the material choices are highly limited at the moment. But going forward, this is bound to change. Please note that the difference stated above is general perceived difference. In actual terms, both rapid prototyping and 3D printing mean the same. In fact, rapid prototyping is the actual term and 3D printing is the most commonly used term. WORTHY