Research@Mines Archive:
May, 2019

SD Mines Professor Receives Grant to Explore Creation of Solid-State Battery Research Center

Research scientist Abu Md Numan-Al-Mobin, Ph.D., is part of the team at SD Mines working to bring solid-state batteries to reality.

In 2016, half a million hoverboards were recalled after lithium ion batteries in some of the popular scooters burst into flames.

That same year, Samsung recalled its Galaxy Note 7 when the same type of batteries in some of those devices exploded and burned. The recall cost Samsung more than $10 billion.

With the U.S. lithium-ion battery market expected to reach $90 billion by 2025, Alevtina Smirnova, PhD, sees great value in fixing this battery problem.

“The reality is, conventional lithium-ion batteries are not safe or reliable,” says Smirnova, an associate professor of chemistry and applied biological sciences, and electrical and computer engineering at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

Conventional lithium-ion batteries contain flammable liquid that can become combustible when heated. Heating usually occurs due to a short circuit inside the battery. The end result in these cases is often fire or explosion. To make matters worse, the electrolyte inside lithium-ion batteries is mixed with a compound that burns the skin. In 2017, a young woman on an overseas flight received burns on her face when the batteries inside her headphones exploded.

Smirnova plans to...

Last Edited 8/1/2019 04:38:39 PM [Comments (0)]

New Tricks for an Old Dog--Wright Earns Doctorate at 71

Jerry Wright will graduate with a Ph.D. at age 71, almost 50 years after he completed his bachelor’s at Mines.

In 1966, Jerry Wright (CE 71) walked into the Civil / Mechanical Engineering Building on the Mines campus as an 18-year-old kid with an interest in engineering. Fifty years later, he came full circle when he walked through the doors again as a new PhD student.

“I had to learn a lot about stuff I never knew,” he jokes.

Any graduate degree involves a learning curve, but Wright brought a lifetime of experience to the table when he returned to Mines. His career as the leader of the Rapid City Solid Waste Division included expanding the municipal landfill to incorporate broad recycling and composting programs. Wright spent 27 years in the Army National Guard and Reserve, including a return to active duty after being called out of retirement to serve in Kuwait.  “I thank my kids for offering to co-sign my student loans,” he says with a smile. “But the GI Bill paid for my education.”

His doctoral dissertation is an extension of his career in environmental engineering. His core idea is to work with Mother Nature to conserve irrigation water by spreading compost on crop and grazing land.

The draft dissertation begins with the words “On a dark and stormy night,” an appropriate opening for a thesis tied to the hydrologic cycle, which he notes is “a natural phenomenon beyond the control of human beings.”  Putting compost to more widespread use is something Wright cam...

Last Edited 5/2/2019 04:01:41 PM [Comments (0)]

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