In this atomic era of
Nanotechnology and Quantum analysis, scientists Andre giem and konstantin
Novoselov at University of Manchester in 2010 discovered the material, Graphene,
which is only one atomic layer thick, for which they got the Nobel Prize (2010).
Graphene is allotrope of carbon
which is even harder than diamond and hundred times stronger than Steel. This
mono atomic layer is extremely durable, stable, conductive, strongest material
ever tested in lab. The Nobel Prize announcement was done saying one meter
graphene hammock would support a 4 kg cat but would only weight as much as one
of cat’s whiskers( 0.77 mg).
In 2013, European Union invested
1 billion Euro for research purpose about possible applications of graphene
along with other universities for a decade. The possible applications of
graphene is immense including semiconductivity, photo electric circuits, tissue
engineering ,optical modulation, biosensors, seawater filtration, waterproof
coating, bulletproof outfits, aviation industries, electromagnetic fields for
Nano Antennas and many more.
This material is supposed to be
game changer in field of mechanical engineering. It is very thin, lightweight,
strongest material which can replace old metallic sheets for metallic
construction of machines making it lighter, stronger and efficient when used
with carbon fibre. Moreover, the engines when coated with this material
increases life of engine, efficiency and its various properties. In 2011,
researchers found out that vertically aligned multilayer graphene structure can
be an approach for graphene based thermal management of metallic machine parts.
Graphene has peculiar property of responding to electromagnetic field which
help in communication with Aero-vehicles through absorption and transmission of
radio waves as nanoantennas . Graphene
when added to lanthanum and partly reduced titanium oxide produce strong seebeck
effect at temperature ranging from room temperature to 750 degree Celsius which
would convert 5% of heat into electricity. We can even filter sea water through
it and fulfill demand of drinking water at different places.
It can be used as super
capacitor which would claimed to achieve very high energy density comparable to
lithium ion battery. This is great news for mechanical engineers who are
working in the field of green energy vehicles. Recently, it has been used to
electric car” in
India where graphene -based air- metal electrochemical cell is used which has
increased range of electric cars from 100 kilometers to more than 500 kilometers
. This electric cars actually runs by changing electrolyte (water) regularly and
electrode (Aluminum) occasionally.
Fig: energy content of graphene
based battery||(image source :/nanographene.net)
In a nutshell, this Graphene is
wonder material which can improve engineering fields to a greater extent making
the life of engineers easier and exciting. So, there would not be any
hesitation to call graphene a ”SUPER MATERIAL”.
With the introduction of the 21st century, humans have started becoming more environment centric than ever and with it now the car makers, both legendary and the new ones are now in a race to electrify the automotive industry.
“One in Six Cars in the
World will be electric by 2025.”, a survey by UBS Global Autos reports.
Vehicles or simply EVs are simply vehicles with one or more electric motor that
is used for propulsion. With the advancements in battery technology from
countries such as China and Japan, EV’s can now challenge vehicles with
internal combustion engines in terms of range as well as performance, such that
EV’s have now resurged from long absence and have started taking the market.
The EV’s are categorized into a lot of types which includes hybrid cars which combines a combustion
engine with an electric motor and battery to reduce fuel consumption and carbon
footprints, plug-in hybrids that can
be charged for short range travel in battery power alone and the combustion
engine kicks in when battery reaches end of range or on driver’s demand, battery electric cars that runs
completely on batteries producing zero emissions. Also, as an alternative,
tests have already begun for fuel cell
vehicles which uses hydrogen gas to power an electric motor which virtually
has no emissions if hydrogen comes from renewable sources. And also for the
terrains like that of our country, plug-in hybrids are the suitable ones as
charge stations are distant and battery power alone is not reliable enough.
Future is Electric (and Clean)
vehicles will one day push fuel powered ones out of the automotive business map
-but how soon? Sooner than we might think, according to reports from the
International Monetary Fund, by 2040 more than 90% of all passenger vehicles in
the U.S., Canada, Europe and other rich countries could be electric. Along with
a rush of recent commitments to electric vehicles by governments and car
companies, the study offers hope about the prospects for ceasing the
transportation sector off carbon. Of more than one billion registered vehicles
on the road today, only two million are electric (with one million of those in
China alone). But if EV’s catch on as fast as the researchers project, it could
reduce oil use by 3.34 billion liters a day and cut CO2 emissions 3.2 billion
tons a year.
car manufacturers like BMW and Daimler AG are spending billions in a race to
gain market share in electric-car market, hoping their existing scale will help
them leapfrog newer companies like Tesla that focus exclusively on electric
vehicles. A policy in China makes electric-vehicle sales and
production compulsory in coming future. According to analysts, by the middle of
the next decade, global sales of electric vehicles should hit 16.5 million, a
16% increase from the previous estimate. They predict electric vehicles will
make up 16% of all car sales by then, up from a previous estimate of 14%. “The
shift to electric cars will come faster and in a more pronounced way, fueled by
the diesel demise in Europe, battery technology advancements and regulation in
China and Europe,” Patrick Hummel, the leading analyst said. Below are some of
the electrified models that are making global impacts or are set to
revolutionize the car industry.
Leaf, a compact five-door hatchback electric car
manufactured by Nissan which was introduced in Japan in December 2010 is the
bestselling electric production car in the world. Powered by a 30 kWh battery,
with a 147hp motor and a class toping range is 172 km on a full battery charge,
Leaf battery packs can be charged from fully discharged to 80% capacity in
about 30 minutes using fast charging. More than 300,000 units have been sold
worldwide till January 2018.
The BMW i8 is the ultimate
evolution of plug-in hybrid technology, with an environmental conscience and a
carbon fiber body promising sports car like performance. Having 2 electric
motors and a 3-cylinder petrol engine producing a combined 357hp and a low
weight carbon fiber body of 1567kgs, this car can give the world’s best sports
car series, the Porsche 911 and BMW’s own M4 run for their money. That’s why
more than 10000 units of this car have been sold despite having a high price
tag of $150,000.
Roadster, a production ready supercar concept recently
launched by the revolutionary Elon Musk have claimed the title of the world’s
quickest car with an acceleration of 0-100kmph in just 1.9seconds. Having a
range of almost 1000km per single charge, this supercar has a top speed of
400kmph, even Bugatti Chiron or Koenigsegg Agera RS cannot defeat this roadster priced at just
$250,000 that’s 10 almost 10 times less than the above mentioned hypercars.
Even the hypercars have adopted the electric technology, then why can’t
Bird strikes are accidents occurring mostly in civil aircrafts that can lead to fatality and/or destruction of an aircraft as a result of collision with birds. The first known bird strike was recorded to be September 7, 1908 when Orville Wright was flying in Dayton, Ohio and was chasing birds. The first fatal accident was recorded in 1912 in at Long Beach, California, which killed Cal Rogers, the first person to fly across the USA. Although birds are small creatures as compared to large aircrafts, the accidents caused by bird strikes should be taken very seriously. This is because the bird strikes cause direct damage to wing structure and propeller.
the majority of bird strikes (around 65%) cause little damage to the aircraft.
From 1912 to 1995, bird strikes have caused 30 fatal accidents, the destruction
of more than 52 civil aircrafts and 190 deaths. In the recent years, the
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) reports 65,139 bird strikes
from 2011 to 2014. The Kathmandu Valley is the home of more than 500 varieties
of birds. In addition, the Tribhuvan International Airport is at the center of
the valley. The valley also has problems with solid waste management and
dumping sites. The earthworms that dwell below the ground and die on the runway
also attract a large number of birds to the airport. Also, the smell of food
from nearby restaurants contributes to the large number of bird strikes in Kathmandu.
There are also grains lying around Pashupati which is quite near the airport. Hence,
there are many causes of bird strikes in Kathmandu in particular and the
concerned authority should take concrete steps to reduce these risks.
MIT engineers recently made a plane that has no moving parts. It neither has turbo engine nor propellers. Isn’t it interesting? This tiny light aircraft is powered by an “Ionic Wind”. What actually is ionic wind? It is a silent but mighty flow of ions that is produced abroad the plane and that generates enough thrust to propel the plane over a sustained steady flight.
Source: MIT Electric Aircraft Initiative
Unlike engine-powered planes which produce noise pollution, consumes huge amount of fuel, this aircraft is powered by mighty ionic wind which doesn’t produce any noise nor consumes fuel. This design is solely environment friendly and could revolutionize modern aviation in near future.
Now, let us talk about its working principle. We might think is it possible to fly a plane without moving parts? It is insane idea. But looking to this plane this query seems to be normal. This plane is just a combination of electrostatics and aerodynamics commonly known as electro-aerodynamics. This plane is propelled via ionic wind. Batteries in the fuselage supply voltage to electrode strung along the length of the plane, generating a wind of ions that propels the plane forward. This is the first-ever sustained flight with no moving parts in the propulsion system. Looking to its prototype, this could remind us about Wright brother’s era. The principle that Wright brothers used about 100 years ago and this solid state airplane is completely different. This plane is idea of EAD thrust- a physical principle that describes a wind, or thrust, that can be produced when a current is passed between a thin and a thick electrode. If enough voltage is applied, the air in between the electrodes can produce enough thrust to propel a small aircraft.
The fuselage of the plane holds a stack of lithium-polymer batteries which provides power that would convert the batteries’ output to a sufficiently high voltage to propel the plane. In this way, the batteries supply electricity at 40,000 volts to positively charge the wires via a light weight power converter. Talking about the future scope of this plane, this could transform the modern aviation from persistent unpleasant buzz to silent and environment friendly flight in the sky.