“Better” copper means higher-efficiency electric motors

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“Better” copper means higher-efficiency electric motors
PNNL Materials Scientist Keerti Kappagantula holds an ultra-high conductivity copper wire with graphene additives that is five percent more conductive than annealed copper, the industry standard for motor applications. Credit: Andrea Starr | PNNL

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have increased the conductivity of copper wire by about five percent. That may seem like a small amount but it can make a big difference in motor efficiency. Higher conductivity also means that less copper is needed for the same efficiency, which can reduce the weight and volume of various components that are expected to power our future electric vehicles.


The laboratory teamed with General Motors to test out the souped-up copper wire for use in vehicle motor components. As part of a cost-shared research project, the team validated the increased conductivity and found that it also has higher ductility—the ability to stretch farther before it breaks. In other physical properties, it behaved just like regular copper so it can be welded and subjected to other mechanical stresses with no degradation of performance. This means that no specialized manufacturing methods are necessary to assemble motors—only the new advanced PNNL copper composite.

The technology can apply to any industry that uses copper to move electrical energy, including power transmission, electronics, wireless chargers, electric motors, generators, under-sea cables, and batteries.

Using a new, patented and patent pending manufacturing platform developed at PNNL researchers added graphene—a highly conductive, nano-thin sheet of carbon atoms—to copper and produced wire. The increase in conductivity compared to pure copper is made possible by a first-of-its-kind machine that combines and extrudes metal and composite materials, including copper.

Shear inspiration

PNNL’s ShAPE process can improve the performance of materials extruded through the process. ShAPE stands for Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion. Oppositional, or shear, force is applied by

Earth’s space junk problem is getting worse. And there’s an explosive component.

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Before humans first started sending objects into Earth orbit, the pocket of space around our planet was clear and clean. But the launch of Sputnik 1 in October of 1957 changed everything. Since then, the space debris has been accumulating, with the amount of useless, defunct satellites vastly outnumbering the operational objects in our orbit.

A new annual report from the European Space Agency (ESA) has found that while we have become aware of the problem and taken steps in recent years to mitigate it, those steps are currently not keeping up with the sheer scale of space junk.

All spacefaring nations have contributed to the problem, which is significant: as more and more defunct objects populate near-Earth space, the risk of collision rises – which, as objects crash and shatter, produces even more space debris.

The hazards have been prominent in the last year. We have not only watched as two large dead satellites very nearly collided, but the International Space Station has had to undertake emergency manoeuvres three times to avoid colliding with space debris.

But collisions are not even close to being the biggest problem, according to the ESA’s report. In the last 10 years, collisions were responsible for just 0.83 percent of all fragmentation events.

“The biggest contributor to the current space debris problem is explosions in orbit, caused by left-over energy – fuel and batteries – onboard spacecraft and rockets,” said Holger Krag, head of the ESA’s Space Safety Programme.

“Despite measures being in place for years to prevent this, we see no decline in the number of such events. Trends towards end-of-mission disposal are improving, but at a slow pace.”

The causes of fragmentation events over the past decade.

The causes of fragmentation events over the past decade. (Image credit: ESA)

The space junk problem was first raised in the 1960s, but it

Agency Reveals Details About Bennu, Including Finding Possible Lifeforms

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KEY POINTS

  • OSIRIS-REx will collect samples from Bennu on Oct. 20
  • Bennu came from a parent body which had enough heat to keep water in its soils
  • Nightingale will be the mission’s primary sample site
  • The samples are set to be delivered back on Earth on Sept. 24, 2023

NASA has shared more information about asteroid Bennu and the agency’s mission to bring back samples of the asteroid’s surface through their OSIRIS-REx mission on Oct. 20. The 861-foot asteroid may contain ingredients for life.

In a recent article shared by NASA, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) is set to travel to a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu to collect a 2.1-ounce sample and bring it back to Earth for further study. The mission plans to shed more light for scientists on how life began in the solar system, as well as improve their knowledge on asteroids that pass by Earth in the course of a year.

Journals published last week by Science and Science Advances have also revealed that Bennu, a near-Earth asteroid which formed more than 4.5 billion years ago, has a surface almost completely covered in carbon-bearing organic molecules — essential ingredients for life to thrive on Earth. It is also said to contain hydrated minerals, suggesting that the NEA had a watery origin.

Though Bennu in the present day shows evidence of being lifeless, its origin shows that it had possibly already delivered dust and meteorite to Earth in the past, and that any life it contained is already here, according to scientists working on the OSIRIS-REx mission on a Reddit AMA post on Oct. 13.

Recent information revealed by NASA also says Bennu’s parent body is said to have had enough heat to keep water — yes, that is correct — liquid water

Avenir LNG Limited Takes Delivery of Avenir Advantage

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Avenir Advantage

Avenir LNG
Avenir LNG
Avenir LNG

Avenir Advantage

Avenir LNG
Avenir LNG
Avenir LNG

London, October 14, 2020 – Avenir LNG Limited (NOTC:AVENIR) today announced that its subsidiary Avenir (L) Pte. Ltd. has taken delivery of its first dual purpose liquefied natural gas bunkering and supply vessel (LBV) Avenir Advantage from Keppel Offshore & Marine, at the Nantong Shipyard, Jiangsu Province, China.

Following her maiden voyage, Avenir Advantage will commence a three-year charter to Petronas LNG Sdn Bhd in Malaysia; becoming the first dedicated LBV in South East Asia. She will supply LNG to fuel ships operating in the region and deliver LNG directly to Petronas small-scale customers.

Milorad Doljanin, CEO Avenir LNG Limited, commented: “With the delivery of the Avenir Advantage, we move one step closer to delivering our shareholders’ vision of creating a small-scale LNG supply and marketing portfolio.”

“The flexible design of our vessels allows us to support the development of the LNG bunker fuel market whilst adding to the global small-scale supply fleet; thereby supporting our strategic objective of supplying natural gas to otherwise inaccessible areas.”

Avenir LNG is currently building a fleet of six LBVs of 7,500cbm and 20,000cbm capacity and the HIGAS LNG import facility (10,800 cbm) in Sardinia Italy. Avenir Advantage is the first of two ships ordered from Keppel Nantong Shipyard. Each vessel has a cargo capacity of 7,500 cbm across two Type C tanks.

About Avenir LNG Limited: Avenir LNG supplies small-scale LNG to off-grid industry, power generation and transport fuel sectors as well as providing infrastructure to support the development of LNG as a marine fuel.

Leveraging the expertise of its’ shareholders, Avenir LNG has quickly become one of the leading providers of small-scale LNG solutions; working with local partners and end users to develop the infrastructure necessary to unlock new

Russian-US crew launches on fast track to the space station

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MOSCOW (AP) — A trio of space travelers launched successfully to the International Space Station, for the first time using a fast-track maneuver to reach the orbiting outpost in just three hours.

NASA’s Kate Rubins along with Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos lifted off as scheduled Wednesday morning from the Russia-leased Baikonur space launch facility in Kazakhstan for a six-month stint on the station.

For the first time, they tried a two-orbit approach and docked with the space station in just a little over three hours after lift-off. Previously it took twice as long for crews to reach the station.


They will join the station’s NASA commander, Chris Cassidy, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who have been aboard the complex since April and are scheduled to return to Earth in a week.

Speaking during Tuesday’s pre-launch news conference at Baikonur, Rubins emphasized that the crew spent weeks in quarantine at the Star City training facility outside Moscow and then on Baikonur to avoid any threat from the coronavirus.

“We spent two weeks at Star City and then 17 days at Baikonur in a very strict quarantine,” Rubins said. “During all communications with crew members, we were wearing masks. We made PCR tests twice and we also made three times antigen fast tests.”

She said she was looking forward to scientific experiments planned for the mission.

“We’re planning to try some really interesting things like bio-printing tissues and growing cells in space and, of course, continuing our work on sequencing DNA,” Rubins said.

Ryzhikov, who will be the station’s skipper, said the crew will try to pinpoint the exact location of a leak at a station’s Russian section that has slowly leaked oxygen. The small leak hasn’t posed any immediate danger to