Wednesday, August 30, 2017

No. 893: Earth observation satellite that can travel at a low altitude for shooting (August 30, 2017)

The Japanese government is scheduled to launch a testing model of earth observation satellite that travels low over the ground within 2017. While most existing earth observation satellites travel at 600-800 km above the ground, the testing model can travel at 180-300 km above the ground. Because a satellite has 1,000 times more air resistance at a low altitude than it has in space, it goes down unless some measures are taken. The testing model keeps its altitude by emitting a highly efficient ion propulsion engine, and its airframe is modified to reduce air resistance. 

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is scheduled to launch the testing model using the H2A rocket within 2017. Because it travels low over the ground, it can take clear photos using a low performance sensor. It is nicknamed “Tsubame (Swallow).” In addition to the ability to take clear photos for conventional earth observation, it can hopefully be used for security.

Tsubame (Swallow) earth observation satellite

Monday, August 28, 2017

No. 892: New titanium material that is three times as strong as existing titanium material (August 29, 2017)

Katsuyoshi Kondo, professor at Osaka University, developed a new titanium material, which is three times as strong as the existing titanium material jointly with Takefu Special Steel in Fukui Prefecture and Charmant that is one of Japan’s leading glassframe makers in Fukui Prefecture. They consolidated oxidized titanium at high temperature and high pressure, and successfully increased the strength of the existing titanium material by three times. They plan to translate the new technology into practical application for medical apparatus and aircraft materials in three years.

For the development, they adopted the method of power metallurgy that consolidates power materials. They mixed titanium and powder of oxidized titanium at 1,000 degrees centigrade and consolidated them at 60-80 pressure. The new material has tensile strength of 1250 mega, which is three times as high as that of the existing titanium material. Professor Kondo told that because the new titanium material is free from rare earths, it is low-priced and as safe as a kitten. He eyes the possibility of applying it to parts of aircraft engine and apparatus for brain surgery. 

Subaru Impreza: Sound through 
an exhaust pipe made of titanium 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

No. 891: Bendable organic electroluminescence for vehicle lighting is developed by Pioneer (August 28, 2017)

Pioneer developed bendable electroluminescence device applicable to vehicle lighting unit, allowing automakers to develop highly-designed lighting units that can be tailored to vehicle shape. The company successfully opened the way for the practical use by doubling the product life to 10 years, while meeting the requirements of automakers, such as color and brightness. Practical applications are scheduled for 2020. Pioneer has already started marketing the new technology to automakers both at home and abroad. It focuses on the application for tail lamps of luxury cars and self-driving cars because bendable organic electroluminescence allows automakers to pursue originality in car design.

The existing organic electroluminescence is hardly bendable because it made of glass substrate. Pioneer has been developing bendable electroluminescence made of resin substrate. Water makes inroads into resin more easily than into glass, makes resin deteriorate fast. The company reduced the influence of water by improving the constituent materials like luminous elements and resin substrate. Pioneer established Konica MinoltaPioneer OLED last June by integrating the organic EL lighting business of Pioneer and Konica Minolta on an equal basis.

Bendable organic electroluminescence developed by Pioneer

Flexible 4K organic EL display developed by