0

IN THIS ISSUE


Select Articles

Mechanical Engineering. 2014;136(06):S1-S6. doi:10.1115/6.2014-Jun-4.
FREE TO VIEW

This article summarizes a recent collaboration at the University of Michigan's Automotive Research Center that considered best use of batteries in ground robots from several perspectives, such as planning the mission and tracking energy during its execution. The paper illustrates the four main subproblems addressed in this collaboration. Specifically, an area coverage problem is considered using a tracked robot, and the development of an energy-efficient coverage plan is first addressed. Track-terrain interaction is then modeled to better predict the power consumption due to locomotion on different types of terrains. Using a coverage problem as an example, this article shows that managing the battery and the mission properly is critical for ground robots to successfully complete given tasks and make maximum use of their capabilities. To this end, the problems of energy-efficient coverage planning, predicting the locomotion power requirements, controlling the battery power with thermal and electrical constraints, and tracking the mission energy requirements online based on a combination of prior knowledge and real-time data are all tightly connected to each other.

Topics: Robots , Batteries
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2014;136(06):S7-S14. doi:10.1115/6.2014-Jun-5.
FREE TO VIEW

This article addresses various challenges associated with lithium-ion battery modeling. Lithium-ion batteries have a key role to play in mobile energy storage. One can potentially expand the envelope of lithium-ion battery performance, efficiency, safety, and longevity by using fundamental electrochemistry-based models for battery control. There are clear trade-offs between battery model fidelity and complexity, and a significant literature addressing these trade-offs. Electrochemistry-based battery models can be effective at capturing frequency-domain battery dynamics, especially at lower frequencies. When they are examined in this light, the commonalities between them and equivalent-circuit models become more visible. Constructing lithium-ion battery models certainly takes effort, and so does reducing these models for control design purposes. One important open challenge in lithium-ion battery modeling is the matching of sophisticated battery models to experimental data. Half-cell testing or insertion of a third reference electrode in a fuel cell can separate the contributions of the negative and positive electrodes, and researchers are pursuing other novel technologies for in-cell instrumentation and measurement.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2014;136(06):S15-S21. doi:10.1115/1.2014-Jun-6.
FREE TO VIEW

This article introduces key concepts in Electrochemical-based Control (ECC) systems for batteries, and highlights the fundamentals of battery electrochemistry, state-of-charge/state-of-health (SOC/SOH) estimation, and constrained control. Research on battery SOC/SOH estimation has experienced considerable growth, and can be categorized under equivalent circuit models (ECM) or EChem model-based algorithms. EChem models capture the spatiotemporal dynamics of lithium-ion concentration, electric potential, and intercalation kinetics. The most fundamental reduced EChem model is the single-particle model (SPM). The SPM idealizes each electrode as a single aggregate spherical particle. Advanced control systems that optimize battery performance and longevity are a key enabler for reducing costs and catalyzing deeper penetration into transportation fleets and electric power grids. The dynamic systems and control community are uniquely positioned to play a significant role, as batteries provide a rich opportunity for advancements in fundamental control science and emerging energy application areas.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2014;136(06):34-39. doi:10.1115/1.2014-Jun-1.
FREE TO VIEW

This article focuses on changes happening in the U.S. manufacturing industry through innovations. Fueling a true rebirth in innovation and economic growth requires investment in advanced manufacturing capabilities. Research, development, and design are intimately connected with product development and production – and proximity is essential. New ideas and insights for future improvements emerge as engineers and scientists struggle to resolve production problems, reduce costs, and improve performance. This type of iterative innovation enables manufacturers to build sustainable competitive advantages. Manufacturing plays a critical role in both innovation and jobs, and there is nothing inevitable about its decline. Many governments offer direct support to manufacturers. China, for example, offers tax incentives, low-cost factory space, and export subsidies. U.S. manufacturing is poised for a turnaround. The wage gap with foreign competitors has narrowed, U.S. companies have a greater appreciation of the hidden costs of long supply chains, and energy prices have been falling.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2014;136(06):40-45. doi:10.1115/6.2014-Jun-2.
FREE TO VIEW

This article discusses innovations and evolution in the optics industry. Local firms teamed with Monroe Community College to hold events that introduced high school students to optics . Paul Ballentine, who analyzes technology opportunities as deputy director of University of Rochester’s Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences, sees plenty of upside. Light-based systems are continuing to grow, but Rochester’s optics community will have to reinvent itself to thrive. The Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster has morphed into New York Photonics, with additional clusters in Buffalo, central New York, Albany, and Long Island. It now represents hundreds of optics and photonics companies throughout the state. Paul Conrow, who was teaching physical sciences at Rochester’s East High School, is now recruiting 10th graders and showing them Rochester’s optics industry. Conrow presented the idea to the district superintendent, who had been principal in the only school in America with a student eyeglass program. He introduced Conrow to teachers at a sister high school where members of the cluster were helping to plan a precision optics program.

Topics: Optics , Students , Photonics
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2014;136(06):46-51. doi:10.1115/6.2014-Jun-3.
FREE TO VIEW

This article focuses on efforts made by different companies and research teams in combining technologies to improve medical diagnosis. Performing some Star Trek-style medical diagnostics may take nothing more than a clever smartphone app. In order to claim the prize, however, teams will have to combine multiple technologies and miniaturize them into a device that can fit in the palm of a hand. The main goal of the X Prize competition is to give consumers, healthcare providers, and insurers new resources to improve healthcare quality and patient outcomes. Pulsewave MAX, an advance over the company’s Pulsewave heartbeat and pulse measuring system, is bulky compared with other X Prize contenders; its sensors are embedded in an arm cuff and finger clip and were designed for immobile hospital patients. Apps can use smartphone cameras to look at other vital signs. Scandu is building on its existing technology in its entry for the Tricorder X Prize. A Cornell University associate professor of mechanical engineering, David Erickson, has led a team that developed a device that works with a smartphone application to detect cholesterol by analyzing color changes in a test strip.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In