Battery Technology: Why Honda Wants to Come Home With You

Electric Car On RoadAutomakers are often seen as one of the biggest innovators in improving battery technology in order to help improve the efficiency of hybrid and all-electric vehicles. However, they are also looking at solutions for homeowners who are trying to go green, and this research could mean an increase in the need for aluminum soldering.

Honda has been showing off an experimental house they built with the help of the University of California, Davis, according to a New York Times report. They want to integrate the batteries used in electric vehicles into the home’s mini-power grid for a very important purpose: storing energy developed from solar panels or other renewable energy sources.

They are “part of a larger energy system [now], and I think the greatest opportunity for automakers is figuring out how their vehicles become part of that system,” the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies director told the newspaper. Honda, Ford, Tesla and other companies envision the vehicles as energy storage sources along with other battery-based systems.

This is important because in the overwhelming number of cases, solar panels generate more electricity than most homes need at the time, so the power goes back to the local utility which “buys” it from the homeowner in the form of a rebate on their monthly bill. This can be problematic because homeowners cannot control their own supply or choose what to do with it based on differences in price.

Batteries in both cars and homes make a certain amount of sense and the Honda example includes a 10 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. For reference, a federal agency found that in 2012 that the Mid-Atlantic states consumed 701 kWh per month. Batteries in the home like this could give homeowners additional options for their power usage needs. Better battery technology will play a huge role in this, but the technology isn’t there yet. This is where aluminum soldering comes into play.

Joining dissimilar materials is a key part of making better, longer-lasting batteries with the aid of various alloys and in some cases ceramics. Aluminum solder allows these materials to be joined at a lower temperature, opening up more possibilities for researchers and engineers. The home of the future may have its own battery, but it would be more beneficial if the capacity was larger than a few hours of the average day in the Mid-Atlantic States.

For more information on the Honda Smart Home project and related efforts, the original New York Times piece is available.


Small-Scale Engineering Benefits From Aluminum Soldering

Aluminum BondingThe growth in unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones, is still mainly in the military sector but with the announcement by Amazon.com head Jeff Bezos that deliveries may come from these devices, there is an increasing emphasis on their usage in private applications. To that end, aluminum soldering and other techniques will be necessary to reach their goals.

One person who is at the forefront of this industry is a former magazine editor, Chris Anderson. He told Popular Mechanics recently that the advent of tools commonly the domain of large-scale electronics manufacturer has enabled smaller outfits to achieve similar results, at least early in the prototyping stages. His company takes advantage of the widespread availability of computer-aided drawing and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software to work on projects before they even take form. (more…)

Aluminum Soldering Plays Key Role in NASA’s Mars Missions

Mars probe uses advanced aluminum soldering

While everyone was watching the Mars Curiosity Rover as it landed delicately on the surface of the red planet and explored its surroundings, other NASA projects have focused on analyzing the atmosphere and obtaining other data. Without aluminum soldering as part of creating composite structures, none of that would be possible.

MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) will not reach its expected orbit around Mars until September, but it is already an example of the efforts to create long-lasting chassis to handle rough landings and other extreme conditions. The frame is made of aluminum sheeting with composite materials in between the metal materials and is based on advancements of joining these materials pioneered by the supercar industry to improve safety of drivers and their passengers. (more…)

Skyrocketing LED Market Will Require Extensive Lead-Free Solder Development

A recent market research report estimates that the solid-state lighting market that produces light-emitting diodes (LEDs) will reach roughly $57 billion by 2018 as a result of consistent double digit growth. While the industry has made significant inroads in the commercial sector, further developments in design using disparate materials joining will be necessary to make an impact in the residential lighting field.

By January 1, 2014, nearly every incandescent light bulb will be off the market due to federal regulations. The current standard is compact fluorescent bulbs, but LED light bulbs are also making inroads. Currently, companies like Cree and Philips subsidiary offer luminaires that look like light bulbs, but the cost savings require homeowners to have them installed for years. The goal to reduce costs will rely in part on Haitz’s Law but moreover on improved product designs with the use of lead-free solder.

Haitz’s Law is a formula estimating that the cost per lumen, or light output will be one-tenth of what it was a decade earlier, while output will jump a similar amount. However, the designs of standard and organic LEDs (OLEDs) require large heat sinks in order to dissipate heat at the junction where light is created.

New solder materials and developments in the technology will likely reduce these requirements, but this must be done relatively quickly in order to meet the Markets target of 25 percent compounded annual growth for OLEDs. Competition is already fierce for applications like TVs, commercial lighting for storage facilities and parking lots as well as backlighting applications.

The last market that will be up for grabs for is both low-cost lighting assistance for screens as well as light bulb replacement options as the cost approaches that of compact fluorescent bulbs and families are unable to buy incandescent bulbs. Innovations are likely to come both from efforts to lower costs of industrial applications as well as work on shrinking backlighting for consumer electronics.

For more information on the Markets for Markets research, visit http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/solid-state-lighting-market-1234.html

A Better Heat Sink: New Ways To Dramatically Increase Thermal Dissipation

Heat Sink - S-Bond Technologies It’s common knowledge that slapping a better heat sink, water cooler, or phase-change unit on a CPU can yield better overclocking results, but there’s more to the CPU cooling issue than simply bolting on a better heat sink. One of the biggest barriers to higher CPU clock speeds is hot spots.


So how do you fix that?

There are a few proposed methods. One alternative is to boost the efficiency of the thermal interface material (TIM). Intel has caught flack in recent years for using thermal paste, not solder, for its microprocessors. Another option is to improve lateral heat transfer within the CPU itself. Other approaches, like computational sprinting, could be combined with new phase change materials like wax to dramatically increase thermal dissipation for short periods of time.

Another solution to the heat issue is to adopt new materials. Certain element combinations from Groups III and V of the Periodic Table are well suited to high-frequency, low-voltage operation.

There’s a third idea out there that’s attracted significant interest in recent years. Why not leverage the advantages Moore’s law still offers to build fundamentally different kinds of chips?

Click here to view the full, original article “Post-post-PC: The new materials, tech, and CPU designs that will revive overclocking and enthusiast computing.”

S-Bond Develops New Lower Temperature Active Solder Alloy

Solder Alloy- S-Bond 140 AlloyS-Bond Technologies has developed S-Bond® 140, a new, lower temperature active solder that melts from 135 – 140°C. This new alloy is formulated with a Bismuth-Tin (Bi-Sn) eutectic base composition, which is then alloyed with active elements and rare earths.  The resulting S-Bond® 140 active solder successfully bonds a wide range of materials without the requirements of flux or pre-plating.

Lower bonding temperatures enable multi-step soldering operations, mitigating the risk of remelt where previously soldered connections or seals must remain intact. Active solders that melt below 150°C are also finding use in thermally sensitive applications, replacing Sn-Ag based solders that melt over 215°C and cause thermal degradation of the component parts being assembled. Lower temperature soldering also provides processing advantages when bonding dissimilar materials where thermal expansion mismatch many times fractures or distorts an assembly’s component parts.

Dr. Smith, President of S-Bond Technologies, states that “S-Bond 140 is already finding application in glass-metal seals in electronic packages in the avionics industry, where higher temperature soldering alloys would have damaged the packages’ components. We are also using S-Bond 140 to bond LED packages to heat pipes and vapor chambers to protect the thermally sensitive phase change fluids from damaging the devices when solder bonding. We see major market potential for this active solder composition.  It is an economical bonding solution, since it does not rely on expensive Indium in its base.”

For more information on S-Bond 140, please contact S-Bond Technologies at (215) 631-7114 x 102 or email [email protected].

Dr. Ronald Smith, President of S-Bond Technologies, Receives 2013 Delaware Valley Materials Person of the Year Award

Ron Smith- S-Bond Technologies The Philadelphia “Liberty Bell” Chapter of ASM International has awarded the 2013 Delaware Valley Materials Person of the Year to Dr. Ronald Smith, FASM and President of S-Bond Technologies. This award is bestowed in recognition of Dr. Smith’s achievements in the field of materials science and engineering, accomplishments in the materials industry, and contributions made to ASM International.

Dr. Smith was born in Salem, Massachusetts and attended schools in Saugus, MA, home of the Saugus Ironworks National Park, the first successful ironworks in the US. From his earliest days, metallurgy was to be his heritage. He attended Northeastern University and received a BS/MS in Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Smith then joined GE Gas Turbine Division in Schenectady, NY, working in the GE R&D Center to develop the first commercial vacuum plasma spray coating process for land based turbines. While there he received his PhD in Materials Engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia. Dr. Smith went on to join GE Aircraft Engine in Lynn, MA to work on first part qualification of casting processes for GE’s small jet engine components. In 1987 Dr. Smith joined the faculty of Drexel University, where he led a University-Industry Center on Plasma Processing for almost 10 years. While at Drexel, Dr. Smith also started his own company, Materials Resources International, specializing in materials processing development in coating and joining technologies, which conducted materials R&D for DoE, DoD and NSF.

In 2002, Dr. Smith spun off S-Bond Technologies which he now owns and directs full time. S-Bond Technologies developed and patented its active solder technology in the late 1990’s as a new technique for joining metals, ceramics and composites. With over 30 years of research, operations and industrial engineering experience, Dr. Smith continues to be the driving force in S-Bond’s manufacturing capabilities as well as its materials research and development efforts. He is a Fellow of ASM International, has served as Chair of the Hudson-Mohawk Chapter of ASM, and served as Founding President of ASM’s Affiliate Thermal Spray Society. Dr. Smith now chairs the American Welding Society (AWS) C3 Brazing and Soldering Committee which manages many of the industrial brazing and soldering specifications and educational materials. He is internationally recognized for his contributions in materials science and engineering, with more than six patents in coating and joining technology.

Dr. Smith is also a dedicated Rotarian, providing service to his community and to the world, hosting almost 30 Rotary exchange students with his wife Patricia. He has served as his club’s President and as a District Governor and now serves the Rotary Foundation regionally. He has three children, all of whom have graduated university, with their fields of study including Criminal Justice, PhD in Chemistry, and a Medical Doctor from Drexel University. In addition, with his first grandchild recently born to his “Bosnian son”, Dr. Smith has added the coveted title of grandparent to his long list of accomplishments.

For more information, please contact S-Bond Technologies at (215) 631-7114 x 102 or email [email protected].

With thermal management technologies, fuel-efficient “urban” SUV possible

The recent Consumer Electrics Show (CES), a highly attended trade show for the electronics industry held this year in Las Vegas, introduced a number of new devices and gadgets that could revolutionize the way consumers interact with media. These electronics are being designed in smaller sizes for increased mobility, a reality that requires the application of sophisticated thermal management technologies to prevent device overheating.

However, small electronics are not the only innovative devices that rely on thermal management for improved efficiency. Another trade show – the ongoing North American International Auto Show, held in Detroit – was the site of the unveiling of an automobile concept that applies thermal management in a way that mitigates excessive fuel consumption.

According to a report from FleetOwner, automobile manufacturer Honda revealed its new Urban SUV Concept at the auto show this week. The vehicle is shorter than most standard SUVs, and Honda designed it that way specifically to serve potential motorists in urban environments.

SUVs are notoriously difficult to navigate in the city, but Honda hopes its new concept – expected to be launched in Japan by the end of this year and in the U.S. in 2014 – will catch on as an option for city dwellers. The manufacturer reengineered its fuel tank layout to ensure it did not need to sacrifice interior seating to accommodate the vehicle's smaller size, and the report notes Honda has deployed a number of technologies – including thermal management – to ensure maximum fuel efficiency.

That could appeal to the better instincts of urban commuters, many of whom might be initially hesitant to drive an SUV in an environment in which many opt to take public transportation to save on gas. Though thermal management technologies helped make this achievement possible, it remains to be seen if Honda can carve a niche in this discerning market.

Medical equipment industry thrives behind technology innovations

The medical technology industry has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last century, due in large part to innovative manufacturing methods. Cutting-edge approaches to joining dissimilar metals have led to improvements in instrument flexibility, while decreasing overall weight.

This has impacted the industry in several significant ways. For starters, these bonding techniques have reduced the amount of materials necessary to build a range of tools, thereby cutting manufacturing costs.

By increasing ease of use and efficiency, medical procedures have become less invasive and less costly to both patients and healthcare providers. With the addition of millions of individuals who will now have health insurance as a result of healthcare reform legislation, combined with the aging generation of baby boomers, advancing technologies will play an even greater role in making treatments more affordable.
"It is no secret that the medical industry remains one of the most stable industries when it comes to growth. Even during the Great Recession, medical sales in companies like Ulbrich Stainless Steels and Special Metals, Inc. dropped 5 percent in 2009, only to come back with an astonishing 43 percent increase by the end of 2010," according to a TechBriefs whitepaper released earlier this summer.

The source goes on to point out that innovative American manufacturing technologies can open up markets in other parts of the world that have yet to mature to the same level as the United States. A large portion of the booming population in China is getting older and subsequently requiring more and more medical care.

This presents a wealth of opportunities for American medical equipment manufacturers and design process innovators developing high strength solder solutions.