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.


Using Carbon Fiber For High-Tech Vehicles Increases Need for Bonding Dissimilar Material Solutions

While high-priced super cars are the biggest beneficiaries of advances in the use of Sonic Solder-Bonding Dissimilar Materialslightweight carbon-fiber, car companies are looking to find weight savings across their model lines. As they do so, efforts to find effective bonding solutions for dissimilar materials will become critical.

Recent discussions by automotive engineers and composite material makers at automotive conferences focus on the difficulties in managing disparate thermal expansion rates where aluminum expands at a much higher rate than carbon fiber. There are even slight differences between mild steel and fiberglass options that can impact the construction process.


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].