Turquoise Energy Ltd. News #87
  covering April 2015 (posted  May 3rd)
Victoria BC
by Craig Carmichael

www.TurquoiseEnergy.com = www.ElectricCaik.com = www.ElectricHubcap.com = www.ElectricWeel.com

Month In Brief (Project Summaries)
 - NiNi cylindrical batteries - Axial Flux Switched Reluctance Motor (AFSRM) - a spare Electric Caik motor - Electric Weel Hydro Generator  - RX7 EV Update: brake trouble - Paperwork for CRA - Commercialization? - Lawnmower Motor, Generator for Windplant.

In Passing (Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)
 - How to Foster Sustainable Energy Product Development - False Flag Terrorism - JADE HELM 15 [HELM = "Homeland Eradication of Local Militants"!] - Uncovering the Collapse 2210  National Geographic Documentary: Archeologists uncovering the ruins of 20th century civilization - Human Evolution will Continue; a glorious future lies ahead.

Electric Transport - Electric Hubcap Motor Systems
* Electric Hubcap Axial Flux Switched Reluctance Motor (AFSRM)
* Variable Torque Converter Transmission
* Giant Electric Weel Generator

Other "Green" Electric Equipment Projects
* Aquaponics update

Electricity Generation (no reports)

Electricity Storage - Turquoise Battery Project (NiMn, NiNi), etc.
* Improved nickel 'negodes' from cupro-nickel sheet, micro-fine nickel flakes/powder, gum arabic - & Easier cylindrical cell assembly
* Cylindrical 'posode' compactor press
* Aluminum Ion DES Battery - "Moving Target" battery chemistries?

No Project Reports on: Magnet motor, Lambda ray collector, evacuated tube heat radiators, CNC gardening/farming machine.

April in Brief

Negative Nickel Battery Electrode with Etched Cupro-nickel Sheet and Micro-fine Nickel Flake Powder

   In late March I decided to try making nickel-nickel/salt solution batteries in the form of standard dry cells with a carbon center rod from a "D" or "F" cell. But how to get a good outer negative electrode? Getting good conductivity from powders has been somewhat elusive, and (unlike the dissolving zinc sheet of a non-rechargeable dry cell) a simple sheet of nickel would give very low amp-hours since only the very surface of the nickel is accessible to the electrolyte.
   On April first and second I conceived of making 'fractally' porous nickel 'negodes' by sintering monel powder to nickel-brass* sheets, and then dissolving away the zinc and some of the copper with ferric chloride, to leave nickel-rich surfaces that were both finely porous from the sintered powder and microscopically porous from the pits and channels formed by the missing zinc and copper atoms. (The Wikimedia 'fractal brocolli' image shown has a vague resemblance, illustrating how much surface area there can be on a small surface.) The back of the sheet will be protected (unetched) to retain full conductivity and strength. I planned to use #28 gauge nickel-brass and #300- monel powder, but later decided to order some monel sheet metal, which I later changed to cupro-nickel ( Cu:Ni 70:30 - cheaper), and some pure fine nickel powder as well. I discovered that the available micro-flake nickel powder is so much finer than the available monel powder that the utilization of the nickel is bound to be far higher, even without etching it.
   It arrived on the 21st. The great increase in fineness and surface area over the monel powder was obvious at 40x magnification.
   "Short circuit" surface ohm meter readings confirmed that this looks like a fantastic way to make a nickel 'negode'! It's about the most exciting battery making idea I've had in some time. It should make for very high nickel utilization in the electrode as well as very high conductivity through it, to give high amp-hours by weight and high amps per electrode interface area.

   Add to that the simple dry cell construction idea! And I've had the thought that since I can't make a cupro-nickel "can" or even a tube and will be rolling up sheets of cupro-nickel into tubes with an open seam, most advantageously, the seam can be spread apart during assembly. Viz: The center pressed 'positrode' isn't that strong. It can be wrapped with separator paper and the carbon rod inserted. Then the slightly open outer sheet of cupro-nickel with nickel flake glued to the inside face can be slipped up around it with no friction, ensuring the paper isn't ripped, the pressed 'posode' isn't broken, and the carbon rod isn't cracked. Then as it's being inserted into the PVC pipe it tightens around the inner part, but it's all inserted as a single unit. Nothing has to slide against anything else except the solid metal sheet against the pipe.

   By the 29th I had all the materials. Now I need to find time to work on it. Doing batteries is deceptive. You mix the ingredients and make the cell by hand, which itself takes time, but then it has to be charged and discharged and its performance has to be monitored and charted for weeks (and hopefully months) until it quits working or has demonstrated longevity. This saps time and energy from every other project.

* Nickel-brass: AKA nickel-silver, AKA german-silver - Cu:Zn:Ni alloy ~65:17:18%.
  ( I can't bring myself to call it by any name with "silver" in it as it contains no silver. )

The Posode Compactor
top - spike for center hole for 8mm carbon rod
mid - outer body pipe, 17mm I.D. (O.D. of electrode)
bot - 2 telescoping pipes together 17mm O.D., 8mm I.D.,
to cram down the powder into a porous 'solid' with the hydraulic press.

Nickel-brass surface etching experiments.

L: Etched in hydrogen peroxide and hydrochloric acid
C: two pieces etched slightly differently in ferric chloride
- these have rough 'grooves' at 40x magnification.
R: Regular (unetched) nickel-brass

Switched Reluctance Motor

   On doing some reading I began to realize that the parts I have won't make the best
switched reluctance motor. The round cores aren't the right shapes (straight edges) to work into a really good design. Making it with solid chunks of steel rather than "laminates" will limit the RPM severely with high losses as it increases - and efficient high RPM is the very feature most wanted. But where to get laminates or some equivalent?
   It looked like the most practical way - if not the only practical way - to do a really good SRM would be to buy soft magnetic iron powder and make my own magnetic forms to my ideal specifications, by mixing it with epoxy and casting it into a mold. Why would that not be the best, anyway?, at least on the stator where there's no centrifugal force.

   ChemicalStore.com had 100 pounds of "high purity soft magnetic iron powder" (99.4% pure) for 800$US, made for "P/M" or resin casting, my intended method. (So I'm not the first person to think of that after all!) Looking it up, yes it needs to be high purity (to be good soft magnetic): evidently it was in fact exactly the right stuff! But could I please start a little smaller and cheaper? OTOH, the stuff's heavy; coil cores are heavy, a substantial part of a motor's weight. 100 pounds is only enough for a few motors! (It's probably not even a very big bucket.) Hmm... special order, non-stocked... "nobody wants under 100 pounds!" Shipped from the east to the west coast and brought through customs. I bit the bullet and ordered it. Withal it'd probably be 2000$C by the time I have it. But after a couple of weeks it appeared they must have forgotten about the order, and considering the price I decided maybe I'd let it lapse, and try grinding some old iron sash weights to powder myself instead. Ugh!
  That's what happens when you don't have a decent R & D budget... you get sidetracked into doing things like grinding metal to powder. Still, a little carborundum in the mix won't hurt, and perhaps an automatic feeder can be devised so I can just leave it running.

   It appears Everything has to be "just so" to get really good results with SRM.s. After studying and figuring out from the papers and correspondence what will work best, I abandoned the "should be about right" ideas and the present "adapted from BLDC" construction. But the price of the iron powder is imperiling the whole project. The lure of making a better motor drives me on! Now I need to come up with an exact design, and precision manufacture it owing to the minuscule flux gaps. The CNC router will be vital to shape and mold the parts and jigs, and it'll need exactly aligned parts (adjustable?) with virtually no play in the bearings.

   I came up with the idea to use large thrust bearings to maintain the perfect alignment required for sub-millimetric gaps between the stator and the rotor, and I ordered some 50mm x 70mm x 5mm. There it sits for now, and having assigned some priority to making batteries, finishing the variable torque converter transmission and other things, it may be some time before I'm able to get going on it.

Spare(?) Electric Caik Motor

   Having abandoned the unipolar motor idea, and as the SR motor looked more and more different in construction from the BLDC type, there seemed to be fewer and fewer parts on the Electric Caik motor that could profitably be used. I decided to set it aside to make a regular Caik bipolar BLDC motor from. All it needed to complete that were a hall sensor magnet sensor set, some modifications to the rotor, and re-assembly. The one thing it would have over the old one (if I finish it) would be a rotor probably safe for 3000 RPM instead of 2000, which would get the boat going faster. (In fact, I could probably fix up the magnet strappings in the old one to achieve that, too.) I fear it might still not be enough speed to get the motorboat up on a plane. 5000 or 6000 RPM with a SR motor would surely do that - if the motor has the torque and power to get to that speed.

Giant Electric Weel Generator for Floating Hydro Power

   Progress on this project consisted of trying to assemble it and finding that I hadn't made it thick enough to accommodate the bearing on the rotor end, and that the rotor wasn't stiff enough. It assumed a "cupped" shape as the magnets wre attracted to the coil cores all around the wide rim.
   I built up the rotor compartment from 1.5" thick to 3" with PP strapping and epoxy, switching theories from "why make it wider than needed?" to "extra space is better than not enough!"
   Then I made another reinforcing 'lexan' piece for the rotor on the CNC router, doubling the thickness almost to the outer edge. That should stiffen it up.
   Finally some diodes are to be installed internally to rectify the 3 phase AC to DC, with all 8 coils of each phase wired in series, and then 'final' assembly. We'll see what voltage comes out in operation at various "flow rates" ...with the pontoon mounted unit towed behind a power boat to simulate river flow. (Linden's idea for testing, which I think rather ingenious.)
   On the 30th we spun the unit by hand. The voltages were rather low with about 2.25 volts at about 60 RPM. This should rise somewhat when the flux gap is reduced, and it can be geared according to the desired voltage, but it looks like coils with more turns of finer wire would probably have been better.

Electric Weel, coming together at last.
(Magnet rotor is on floor behind.)

Mazda RX7 EV update - brakes

   For 2 or 3 months now the RX7 had been doing well, except the hydraulic clutch (which I already repaired once) had been slipping in various ways and making it hard to shift gears while moving. I found if I didn't push it all the way down it worked better. The insurance on my Tercel ran out on the 10th and I decided to save a few shekels and not renew it until I definitely needed it, which was by the 30th. I started to realize that if you're paying 60 $/month and only make 4 trips, that's 15 $/trip for insurance. Ugh!
   On the 16th I drove the RX7 on a 10 mile round trip with a 2-1/2 hour charge at the far end. (That should have been just enough to get home with a small margin. It would take over 24 hours to fully recharge from this trip. This is where the gentle slow float charge system sucks!)
   Half way to the destination, someone turned left right across my path and I had to brake very hard. (The smell of burning rubber lingered in the car for 2 or 3 blocks.) Then it seemed to be using more power and the batteries were getting quite low by the time I was home. It used 20 amp-hours total where on the previous trip to the same place it was only about 16. I was somewhat puzzled, but didn't think much of it. However, the next time I drove I noticed it didn't roll freely in a parking lot, and when I got home I felt the wheels, and the right rear was quite hot, after just a short trip. The left rear was cold. I took the right wheel apart and found the brake cylinder was seized. It had doubtless been seized since before I bought the car, same as all the other seized things on it. I took it out and put it in a vise, but I couldn't budge either end, and finally munched and broke the ends trying. This probably explains why the car pulled to the left some in strong braking from street speeds. The super hard stop had evidently caused something to tighten up and jam the brake somewhat on. (Great, just when I had no other car to drive to an auto parts store!)
   A store ordered in a new cylinder for the next day, so I picked it up then. Usually I don't spend a long time doing brakes, but on this one somehow nothing went together quite right or easily and I spent several hours on it. I couldn't seem to adjust it both for smooth travel and having the parking brake work well. I wasn't sure I wanted to park on much of a hill when there's nothing but the parking brakes holding the car. Yet I can hear it rubbing on turns. On driving it a while, I found that the car doesn't pull to the left in braking any more, and the parking brake seems 'adequate' - about as good as it was.
   I checked the other rear wheel while I was at it. The shoes were good and it seemed fine. I wonder if maybe the front ones might be rubbing just a little... they're at least warm to the touch after any trip. Economy will be better if they're not rubbing! But I didn't find time to take off wheels and check them.

Aquaponics & LED Lighting Progress

   It's spring and I should be moving the operations out to the greenhouse, but in fact I haven't had time to do much more than feed the fish. After ripping down the masses of beanless pole beans and their roots from the drain-down bed, I planted spinach, which didn't sprout. Near the end of the month I planted a couple of lettuce seedlings that were already planted. The light coming in the window is steeper as summer approaches and they aren't getting any sun, so I have an LED plant light on over them. They don't seem to be growing much so far. There are just two tilapia in the system, so they only produce so much waste/nutrient.
   The largest tilapia in the aquarium is about 13" long now and only fits in diagonally. I'll have to do something soon. For a bit I thought she had some more eggs, but it wasn't true. I don't know if they'll breed with a grill between the fish, but the female attacks the smaller two, and they fight each other, if any of them are freely in the same space. The one was attacked and killed by the other two in the aquaponic space a couple of months ago. (I don't remember seeing this aggressive behavior in the videos!) The guy I got the fish from used 200 liter plastic drums with the tops sawn off for tilapia tanks. This should be good as the fish grow and I'm trying to get more of them... but how do I keep the ever fighting fish separated? The goldfish in the pond outside are much more peaceable. The small tilapia is now about 4" long and still growing fast.


   I spent some days here and there sourcing and ordering supplies, which were costly but necessary or at least highly desirable for SR motors and for nickel battery 'negatrodes'. And I finally started in on but didn't finish my annual reports for Canada Revenue Agency on the 9th. (I should have had those done or at least well underway in March, but the exciting developments in SR motors and the plans for producing batteries seemed too good to put aside for mundane paperwork.)


   I saw a news article about a company now offering smaller loans in Canada to startup businesses, and how many banks were talking about how technology was changing the finance 'industry', and how they wanted to get in on it. "Silicon Valley is coming." said Jamie Dimon. On a whim I called RBC, whose CEO had been quoted in the article. They do 'smaller' loans (under 150000$), and one can leverage up one's own money up to tenfold if accepted for a government guaranteed loan. This is interesting. Of course I would want to have proven products and pretty sure customers for them before I start in on such a thing. The Electric Hubcap and Electric Caik motors are candidates, but they need to be properly tested to the max to verify the great specs they seem to have, and that they are strong enough physically to handle whatever's thrown at them. The 12/120 volt LED lights, both flat panel and globe, need a little redesign as I say with a switching power supply. The life span of peltier modules for fridges seems disappointing, and more work on the controls and variable voltage DC to DC supply is needed to make the fridges a real product, plus of course a mold in which to cast the expanding foam. Successful evacuated tube radiators would be valuable for fridges. CAT plugs and sockets are just incidentals unless injection molding and mass distribution are attempted. The NiNi batteries could be an exciting product -- or selling of franchising the battery making equipment and supplies. A working battery model will of course be required.

   In short, some things are almost there, but none are really ready. OTOH, to hire a small crew to work as a 'development and production team' could get everything moving along much faster.

Generator for Windplant

    I think occasionally about making the vertical axis turbine (VAWT), and occasionally I look for a cheap used lawnmower on usedvictoria.com to take the 120V DC permanent magnet motor out of. I've mentioned in a previous issue how these motors seem like almost ideal DC generators for such projects. While the mowers plug into a 120VAC outlet, there is a little square bridge rectifier on the motor that converts the AC to DC. They put out lower DC voltages at lower speeds. With the motor disconnected from the switch, you can spin the blade by hand (careful!) and see notable voltages generated, 10 or 20 or more depending on your spin. (Of course I think the AFSRM would be even an even better generator, but I have yet to make one, and the labor would be prohibitive to make one just for a small windplant.)
   Per a TE News a while back, I tested a 24 volt cordless mower motor I had as a prospective windplant generator, but I found both the voltage and potential power were pretty low. It might put out 50 watts. The most powerful plug-in mower is 120V @ 12 amps or 1440 watts, about 2 HP. I'll need to experiment to see what it'll do as a generator, but it'll be far more than 50 watts. Hence my rather casual, intermittent search for a cheap plug-in mower.
   On the 25th I looked, and I found an ad from the 18th, a moving sale with several items "Must Go Today!" I phoned anyway, and found the person still had the mower and was relatively close, but would be vacating the premises within the next two hours. Just in time! I picked up the mower for just 40$. It was 120VDC, 12 A, the most powerful type. The mower seemed too good to scrap just for the motor, and I tried it out by mowing much of my overgrowing lawn with it. Anyway it's one less thing I'll need assuming I do the VAWT some time.

In Passing
(Miscellaneous topics, editorial comments & opinionated rants)

How to Foster Sustainable Energy Product Development

by Craig Carmichael - April 2014

   Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) sent out an e-mail saying they were now "accepting applications" for their next round of renewable energy project funding. I replied immediately, and said (not very diplomatically) that they seemed more interested in running a funding lottery, in handing out many millions to a few (instead of working money to many), than they were in accomplishing Canada's sustainable energy goals. I feel that they have set no goals, and I said that they would do the taxpayer a service by shutting down if they couldn't figure out a way to foster renewable energy prototypes and support those actually working on them, which I understood was their mandate from Parliament.
   I pointed out that in their funding seminar in Victoria last fall, the room contained a number of talented individuals trying to create renewable energy or energy saving designs by themselves and funded out of their own pockets, since they couldn't get funding anywhere. (...besides SR & ED tax credits.) Virtually none of them had a ghost of a chance of being funded by SDTC. They and their fine ideas are left out in the cold. Thus the SDTC hasn't even begun to fill the "funding gap" that was the reason for its formation in the first place.

This chart is from SDTC's own website (copied 2008), when they pointed out the
virtually unfunded area the organization had been formed by the Canadian
government to fill: Technology development and Demonstration.

   The dysfunctionality of the arrangements is apparent when one considers that the reason SDTC was formed was that there was essentially no funding available for the prototyping stage of new product development. Yet SDTC presently says it will only fund up to 1/3 of the required budget. Where is the other 2/3 supposed to come from? Isn't that the whole problem in the first place?
   Furthermore, it now insists that a prototype be already built, that "a consortium of companies" must make the application, and that "customers for the products" be already involved! Thus they are now funding "product commercialization" and even "market entry" rather than "technology development", which is not their mandate and for which there is other funding. And those stages involve major capital funding. Technology development and prototypes are very low cost by comparison - in fact, it seems to me that most prototypes today are funded by individuals, and if an individual can't do it, the technology usually goes undeveloped. This seems to be where many sustainable energy technologies are today. Nowhere. Where is SDTC?

   I pointed out that I myself had given the presenter a hastily drawn sketch for seemingly the most foolproof, simple, cheap, and safe ocean wave power generator design ever (I am familiar with a number of designs), one that could save the taxpayer 4 billion dollars compared to Site C dam, or the power could provide additional export revenue to the government. It had been in my mind for some time. When I first saw it drawn in concept I thought it looked silly, but it soon dawned on me that it was the wave power embodiment of the KISS principle: "Keep It Simple, Stupid!" The west coast of Vancouver Island is some of the best coastline in the world for it. And I had heard nothing, which seems to imply there was no interest in it. Where had it gone - into the garbage because it wasn't done up on a computer as a glossy brochure, and showed some technical workings instead of glib generalities?
   It's not a far-fetched exotic plan with untried technologies for some vague distant future. Environmental impact is trivial and even then easily reversible. Contracts could be let to build today using existing technology and existing Canadian companies, one installation at a time, which would then come on line perhaps within weeks of each other to expand capacity as desired. How could this not be right in line with SDTC's main sustainable energy technology goals -- unless it is adrift in its own bureaucratic red tape and has no goals?

   But what's a positive alternative? Well, why has it been that in times of war or threatening war, such as when world war two and the invasion of Britain was looming, miracles can be accomplished like the invention of sonar, radar, the digital computer and (ugh!) the atomic bomb, but in peacetime, vital new ideas presented by the inventive meet with pessimism and glazed-over, uncomprehending or unsympathetic eyes by all administrations and agencies, and we can't even get off oil in a century with solutions all around, staring us in the face? Why are our societies unable to adapt and grow, even when billions of dollars may be ineffectually thrown at the problems - or at least at some of the symptoms?
   As I view it, the only really 'great' technical accomplishments since World War Two that weren't done by a single person or two (besides the gradual evolution of electronics and computing - no small things to be sure), were the original American and Soviet space programs, now half a century ago, and the creation of the internet.

   What was a common thread in all the above major inventive technological achievements? It wasn't war! In all these cases the applicable top inventive talent was hired and brought together into a team. In small inventive teams, the possibilities go up almost with the square of the number of engaged people as the ideas of one multiply with those of the others, and one inferior idea (that can be a stumbling block for an individual working alone) is discarded when better ones emerge. It gets results! Things that were previously thought impossible get built. Progress is made.

   It appears to me that the procedure to get actual sustainable technology things built, working and employed or commercialized, would be for SDTC (or some non dysfunctional organization that might replace it) to peruse the possibilities and decide first what things it wants to attempt to accomplish. Set goals before all else! Then subordinate the "noise" to working towards the goals.
   The list of desired "sustainable technology development" objectives might include, for example, ocean wave power, floating or otherwise 'benign' river hydro power, improved electric transport drives and batteries, "free energy" (lambda ray collectors and magnet motors)... It could be short or long depending on what people suggest and what is liked, and some items would have much higher levels of funding and priority depending on their immediacy, potential, seeming feasibility and (eg) whether there's a social return, as there should be quickly with wave power to generate revenue and hence tax reductions.

   Then, collect applicant resumés. Find Canada's most talented inventors, our innovative leaders. Seek them directly as individuals, not as members of contrived corporate entities. Find out what field they are in and what they are interested in trying to accomplish, and sort them to match them up to the desired goals.
   Then interview them. What have you done previously? What have you designed and built? Were you technically successful? Was there commercial success or adoption? What were the factors that went into success or failure? What are you most interested in doing now? How would you proceed if given the opportunity? And personal details of course: Where do you live? What if you would need to relocate for the project? etc, etc.
   Then hire the chosen, freeing them to put their talents to work instead of having them wonder where their rent will come from and how to find the parts they need scrounging in scrap yards -- or maybe having them divert their efforts for months writing up futile funding applications, complete with contrived "business plans" for their still unbuilt technology, or to go get an unrelated job and abandon their project. Put together teams of talented people with complementary skills related to the project, and incorporate the project, or otherwise organize it. Rarely if ever is there an existing bonafide organization to bring inventors together to pursue a new idea - they need to be brought together by SDTC or other agency if the goal is to be accomplished.

   That's how the great things done under the threat or pressure of war were accomplished.
   It's how the Apollo space rocket that took men to the moon was done.
   It's also how Xerox Parc Pacific was done -- the place where the internet, e-mail and the world wide web, and all the original structures behind them (IP, ARP, FTP, SMTP, HTTP, ...) were invented and programmed. (And BTW the GUI too!) Without it, the internet as we know it wouldn't exist.
   And there were administrators with purse strings behind all of these too, who said "Okay, let's do it!" - often the leader of the country; others are less well known.
   A couple of examples: Most authorities were skeptical when a technician told a high level meeting that the Germans were developing electronic bomb targeting systems, and were inclined to reject the idea. This is the same resistance most inventors with ideas meet, the "normalcy bias" that things don't change. Winston Churchill said "Well, lets assume they are just in case" and had a team put together to develop timely countermeasures - a tiny investment which played no small part in deflecting much of the German nighttime bombing of Britain over the winter of 1940-41 into empty fields. [Churchill, The Second World War - Vol.2, Their Finest Hour - Book 2, Alone - Chapter 4, The Wizard War] (This was among many other things that were invented or brought into production and use at this brilliant man's instigation, eg, from the first unemployment insurance and the battle tank before 1918, to the main allied war strategies, and the "Mulberry Harbors" that allowed the invasion of Europe from Normandy where there were no supply ports in 1944.)
   Harrison Storms gambled his career by hiring the all best talent he could find from across America and put everyone together in one building without telling anyone their role, to design the Apollo capsule and the 2nd stage rocket. [Harrison Storms and the Race to the Moon - a book well worth reading!]

   Then ensure that the new sustainable sources of energy and more effective means of using it will come into common use by making them into social projects, locating and pursuing appropriate partnerships or manufacturing, or even helping to fund the project entities as profitable "subsidiaries" of the department (making the department itself sustainable), with dedicated and capable prospective entrepreneurs. But I'm just throwing around these utilization ideas.
   Each individual case, project and technology would be different. One can't just expect automatic industrial or commercial adoption of some things no matter how valuable - especially in North America, with western industry now so emaciated. Ocean wave power, like hydro dam power, pretty much has to be a publicly controlled project in most situations. Floating hydro power units could be commodities, bought and sold to serve various remote or low power utilization situations by rivers and streams. Larger scale river sites might be licensed and taxed if it seems necessary and warranted, or be publicly controlled. (Eg, by the applicable public power utility.) EV batteries and drive systems are of course items for manufacture and sale. Sustainable energy projects and products appropriately and successfully adopted have lasting benefit to society and to the environment.

[Also (not a trivial point!): Don't patent unless SDTC is to control the patents and licensing terms on behalf of the inventors and in the public interest until they expire. Valuable patents are almost invariably acquired (one way or another!) by wealthy vested interests - those already making and selling old technology products - in order to prevent anyone and everyone from producing and commercializing superior new technologies that would compete and drive them out of business.]

False Flag Terrorism

   The RCMP claimed to have thwarted a "terrorist attack" at the BC legislature on July 1st 2013. It was to have been done using pressure cooker bombs like the Boston Marathon bombing. Soon all over youtube, freelance reporters were saying it sounded like a "false flag" operation -- a violent event perpetrated by a government, often against its own citizens, in order to attempt to swing public opinion over to support something they wouldn't ordinarily be prepared to support, such as curtailment of citizens' own rights or foreign war.

   There are many known or highly suspect such incidents used to justify war or other high-handed government actions throughout history. For example, within the last 100 years:
* Poland "attacked Germany", a staged event an hour or two before the German army rolled over the Polish border to start World War Two.
* The "Gulf of Tonkin incident" that started the Vietnam war is said to have never happened.
* "Operation Northwoods" (1960?), a plan released after 50 years under the freedom of information act, was to have an American spy plane "shot down over Cuba", to "justify" to the American public a full scale American invasion of Cuba. (JF Kennedy vetoed it.)
* The fall of the three World Trade Center towers in 2001 (only two of which were hit by airplanes, and which looked to all appearances like controlled building demolitions), is now commonly thought to have been an inside job, and there is plenty of evidence to support this view. With surprising speed if that were not the case, this event was used to effectively suspend the US constitution and bill of rights (not in so many words, to be sure!), and to justify any war the president wanted to start.
* There was never any evidence that Iraq under Saddam Hussein had "weapons of mass destruction", or that Iraq was involved in the World Trade Center event. Yet it was invaded and conquered. (And as with all previous invasions of Iraq since World War One, we were assured "It's not about the oil.")
* There are a number of suspicious aspects to the Boston Marathon Bombing and the astonishingly heavy-handed 'response' by at-the-ready government forces, as well as to other recent well publicized violent events such as the Sandy Hook shooting, the Canadian Parliament "terrorist" shooting, the "terrorist shooting" in France, and the murder of a Russian opposition leader of little note (presumably in a pathetic attempt to cast suspicion on Vladimir Putin).

   Finally the case went to trial this month. There was a months-long "sting" operation involving (ahem!) more than 240 police officers. Video was shown of the defendant (who was set up by an officer posing as an "Al Queda liason" in a protected hotel room in Kelowna, BC) being berated for not proceeding vigorously enough with the terror plot, with the officer trying to guide him towards a "more realistic" plot instead of a vague fantasy, and at the BC legislature instead of at a strip club, on a ferry to Washington state, or in a shopping mall mens' room.
[source: Victoria Times-Colonist newspaper, April 9 2015]

   So it has every appearance of authorities having (one more time!) dragged some doubtless malcontented patsy off the street and turning his vague discontented vengeful fantasies into a plot to be "uncovered" and thwarted - or enacted - to scare the public into acquiescing to whatever the government wants - which appears to be to interfere more and more in everyones' affairs, strip away rights and freedoms, and to engage in - or contribute to - wars of aggression at the citizens' expense wherever they please.


This means you too, Canada! What on Earth are we doing in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine!?! Shame! France gave up trying to run Syria many decades ago. And how does it relate to Bill C51, the invasion of Canada and elimination of Canadians' rights -- by Canada? Or should I call it the hijacking of the government and the nation? And to what end?

Hmm... Military Exercise JADE HELM 15, to be run throughout a number US states...

JADE: Joint Assistant for Development and Execution
HELM: Homeland Eradication of Local Militants

   "Most civilians won't see much." But are we going to see the alternative media channels such as infowars.com in Austin Texas violently shut down, with all perceived critics of Washington and its propaganda "eradicated", treated as hostile "militants"? Like Hitler's "night of the long knives"? Why are they laughing at the governor of Texas instead of trying to reassure and to calm growing public fears, concerns, and confusion, by telling everyone what on Earth the whole thing is all about? If it's all innocent, why does the president not explain it and reassure the public that rumors the closed "for plumbing repairs" - and heavily guarded - Wallmart stores will be military supply depots, and that it's to be a rehearsal for martial law or even the start of it, are baseless?
   It's been said that the territory is "similar to operations areas overseas", but if so, why is homeland in the "HELM" acronym? And why did one military commander mention "constitutionalists" and "well armed people" as enemies or targets? That pretty specifically says "Americans". Did he not take an oath to uphold the constitution himself when he signed on?
   If it's not the beginning of martial law, it certainly looks a full dress rehearsal for it. (Why is it in the states where a severe and protracted drought has been for several years, with California, home to 38 million people, about ready to turn into inhospitable desert? And why does the jet stream now veer north of this region, and is that related to the heavy "chem trail" spaying off the California coast?)
   An equivalent exercise, "Maple Resolve", is evidently being run in Canada, and someone videoed a trainload of armored military vehicles headed west through Manitoba or Saskatchewan. I've haven't heard much about it so far - but there's doubtless more info on youtube.

JADE HELM Map, showing supposed 'affiliation' of states said to be involved.
See youtube for a fuller view of what various people
think the agenda and specifics may be.

   I watched an interesting 2010 video from National Geographic (on youtube) called something like "Uncovering the Collapse - 2210". (That's probably not quite it, but it should serve to find it.) In it archeologists in 2210 are digging up ruins of 20th century civilization to determine what happened to it. It goes over previous collapses of civilizations and compares them with where we are now. It gives a number of reasons that we might have a sudden collapse into chaos with tremendous loss of life, as has happened a least a few times in the past. Overpopulation is always a key, but usually unrecognized, factor. The difference today is everything's global. Any and all of the factors mentioned are likely to come into play in the relatively near future.

A Glorious Future for the Earth

"Do you not realize that the hope of a better nation — or a better world — is bound up in the progress and enlightenment of the individual?" - Jesus [per The Urantia Book 145:2.8]

   Evidently there is an unfolding cosmic plan for the progress and uplift of this planet: Just the last 300 years have seen an explosion of scientific knowledge and technology. The next few hundred will focus on the moral, philosophical and spiritual evolution of the individual, to eventually encompass the world. The uplifting of consciousness that has already begun is just the beginning, and among the people of today are the early pioneers. Humanity will continue to evolve - not smoothly to be sure but as the overall trend - toward sustainable living and sustainable societies, peace and co-operation, cleansing and improvement of the genetic pool, better and longer lives, utopia and light and life. In spite of the present short term trend and the forecast for some horrific events, it won't finally degenerate into confusion, evil, ugliness, overall environmental ruin and extinction.

Newsletters Index/Highlights: http://www.TurquoiseEnergy.com/news/index.html

Construction Manuals and information:

- Electric Hubcap Family Motors - Turquoise Motor Controllers
- Preliminary Ni-Mn, Ni-Ni Battery Making book

Products Catalog:
 - Electric Hubcap 7.2 KW BLDC Pancake Motor Kit
 - Electric Caik 4.8 KW BLDC Pancake Motor Kit
  - NiMH Handy Battery Sticks, 12v battery trays
& Dry Cells (cheapest NiMH prices in Victoria BC)
 - LED Light Fixtures

(Will accept BITCOIN digital currency)

...all at:  http://www.TurquoiseEnergy.com/
(orders: e-mail craig@saers.com)

Daily Log
(time accounting, mainly for CRA - SR & ED assessment purposes)

1-2: Writing February newsletter/report (#85); New concept for nickel negative battery electrode (ideas & one experiment).
3: Continuation of electrode ideas; Finished February newsletter; correspondence with AFSR motor specialist at U of Guelph for feedback & ideas.
4: Continuation of Ni 'negode' ideas, with more experiments.
5: Cut and rolled steel rings for SR motor coil "cups".
6: Found monel sheet metal on web for said electrodes, wrote for quote on 6000 square inches of .018" thickness. Bought "gum arabic solution". Painted some onto etched nickel-brass test sheet and added monel powder to it. Allowed to dry.
7: Torched test piece, inspected @ 40x. Several more experiments as recorded below.
8: Corresponding with SRM expert Worked on big Electric Weel generator, fitting parts together.
9: Epoxied 3" strapping to extend height (thickness) of rotor compartment of Weel because the center assembly and bearing took more room than planned for.
10: Added 1/2 of epoxy rim spiral to Weel
11: Cut non-productive beans from aquaponics grow bed. Added most of the other 1/2 of the rim to Weel. Found, sized & cut 2 pipes to form & press NiNi battery positive electrode.
12: Ordered pure micro nickel flake/powder; looked for monel sheet
13: Finished electrode press (machined one of the pipes and end of 'spike' to fit together); SR & ED 2014 paperwork
14: Started machining bushing to adapt 1" shaft & 1.064" gear for transmission; Started design/layout of AFRSM; SR & ED 2014 paperwork; monel sheet quote too costly - started searching for cupro-nickel 70%:30%.
15: Machining matching 'shim' for 1" motor shaft to 1-1/16" I.D. gear.
16: Found a company (NEAlloys.com) selling Cu-Ni 70-30 and ordered some.
17: Did some tax/SR&ED paperwork.
18: Completed Electric Weel height extension with final layers of PP-epoxy. Finished machining of shaft adapter for Electric Hubcap transmission gear. Tried to put it on the shaft as a "pressed fit", but it wouldn't go readily - didn't finish.
19: Straightened out adapter and pressed it on, with the gear, as a completely pressed fit unit, using 9 tons pressure in hydraulic press.
20: Paperwork for CRA. Started Mazda RX7 EV Brake repair.
21: Got brake hydraulic cylinder, finished RX7 EV brake repair (ugh!)
22: -
23: -
24: Made additional reinforcement layer/piece for Electric Weel rotor, which was too flexible.
25: Purchased a used electric lawnmower (120V, 12A) for use as a generator for a windplant.
26: CRA paperwork
27: Installed/glued new rotor piece onto Electric Weel
28: Pressed diodes into aluminum blocks & wired Electric Weel to output maximum DC voltage.
29: Finished installing diode assemblies in Electric Weel, made new shaft keys (needed longer). (Order of Cupro-Nickel for battery making arrived.)
30: Fitted together Electric Weel components. ("Teething" problems remain. Some re-working was done May 1st.)

Electric Hubcap Motor Systems - Electric Transport

Electric Hubcap Size Axial Flux Switched Reluctance Motor (AFSRM)

   At the start of the month I cut steel rings to go around 6 coils for the "Adapted Electric Caik" SR motor.

   But in reading technical papers and in conversation with the author of the U of Guelph paper, it became clear that while one might build an AFSR motor of similar dimensions to a BLDC permanent magnet motor, the requirements were so different that an entirely new design was needed. The Electric Caik version would doubtless run, but it could only be a demo unit, not a real workhorse.

   In order to strike at the main objective, I decided to design the Electric Hubcap size for car wheels rather than the smaller Electric Caik for boats and (eg) motorbikes. A Japanese design with a 10.7" diameter promised 300 newton-meters of torque - enough to propel the Chevy Sprint. Even if I only got half that, I could gear it down by four times and still have a motor that only went 4000 RPM on the highway on (eg) the Tercel and yet had 600 N-m, over 400 foot-pounds, of torque. Or 800 if there were two of them, one on each rear wheel.

   In order to avoid custom die-cut laminates, iron powder coils cores and perhaps iron powder rotor pole pieces would be needed. To get more flux and to balance the strong axial forces, two rotors are required around a two-faced stator, and more poles, eg, double, on both rotor and stator. To get lower torque ripple, four or more phases are needed. (I decided to ignore ripple for the first design and do three phase.) The hardest item is the flux gap between rotors and stator faces - one millimeter at the most, and preferably less than 1/2 of that. That requires very precise construction - perhaps even machining the faces of each piece, or of the whole stator after assembly, both faces.

   Owing to the tiny gaps and large diameters, I conceived that the rotor or stator might be slightly beveled so the inside nearest the axle had the smallest gap, tapering to the largest at the outside, eg going from .3mm to .8mm or whatever, to provide a margin for flex. But working with a 2-D CNC router making flat molds, that really isn't an option unless the part, eg, both rotors, is sanded (or perhaps machined on a lathe) to a slight taper later. (Not impossible!)

A small thrust bearing
   I thought that maybe it would be nice to have teflon skid pads in case the rotor rubbed against the stator now and then... but if those stuck up even minutely, they themselves would cause it to rub. I started then to think of having some sort of little rollers. As I drafted the motor cross section on paper on the 14th, it came to me that fairly large diameter thrust bearings, one for each rotor, would accomplish what I wanted. Thrust bearings are flat with little rollers held in a race, so that differently rotating parts pressing against each other on an axle continue to rotate freely, rolling on the rollers. It's a better, ready-made version of what I was thinking. A larger diameter thrust bearing would hold the rotor flat, and even if it tried to tilt toward one side, the other side would have to rise more than the compressed side to lower, helping to prevent collisions and rubbing. (Ultimately a huge one, the diameter of the rotor, running around the rim, could never allow tilts and collisions, but in practice one much smaller, running centrally inside the magnetic components area, should suffice.)
   But where might one find such a thing? I remembered I had once ordered some 'trailer wheel' bearings for Electric hubcap motors from "VXB Bearings" (if only because they sent me a free caliper with their name on the case). I looked it up again on the web, and sure enough, they had them, in various sizes. That makes obtaining those tiny, precise gaps seem much more accomplishable. I ordered four (two plus spares), 50mm x 70mm x 5mm.

My 'life size' sketch to explore dimensions and proportions for an AFSRM with 10" rotors.
The core shape on the left will provide much better air cooling than
the "optimum" shape on the right, with little loss of torque.

   By the end of the month, looking over the many things to do, I fear it may be some time before I'm able to get back to the AFSRM project.

Variable Torque Converter Transmission

Original pipe (R) and bored-out pipe with gear (L)

   Having decided I should complete the transmission unit and try it out regardless of new AFSRM and fixed ratio belt drive designs, I started machining of a shaft adapter to make the 1.0" Electric Hubcap shaft fit the 1.064" transmission planetary sun gear on the 14th, by boring out a piece of pipe that seemed to be right on 1.064" O.D, to 1.0" I.D. It was slow work and I only got 1/2 way. I got back to it on the 18th. I decided it should fit the shaft as a "pressed fit", and left it a few thou under 1.0". It wouldn't go on readily when hammered, even heated with a torch, and I didn't finish. Perhaps a couple more thou would have been good to take off. The end pounded on expanded a little, which might make for a good press fit to the gear as well... but only if I could get it on at all, and if the gear didn't break in the process.

   The next morning I thought if I lowered the bottom of the hydraulic press I could fit the whole motor into it. Since the motor shaft stuck out both ends (I left extra!), all pressure would be on the shaft. I cut the munched hammered end off and squared it off. After a couple of trials with a short piece of shaft, I put in the motor with the adapter and the gear on the end. With 3 tons of force, it started to go together. I took it bit by bit. For the last bit it was up to 9 tons, and the gear was on, all but flush with the end of the motor shaft. The gear hadn't split open and the motor shaft hadn't bent. With maybe .05" left to go, there was some munched adapter metal in the way of getting it 100% flush. I quit there while I was ahead.
   So there's no key in the shaft, but I don't think there's any chance of the gear slipping. It's on as solid as a rock. One hurdle overcome!
Pressing the gear on. I quit while I was ahead at 9 tons pressure with the adapter end squashed down.

   Let's see... that leaves installing the unit in the Sprint and devising a new linkage for the slipping gear to the shift stick, then installing and wiring up the Kelly 300 amp BLDC motor controller, then fitting in some batteries of some description for testing. Then testing the motor and controller, then the transmission. I'm probably missing something, but that's the list for now!

Variable Transmission Assembly:
Electric hubcap motor, Variable planetary gear torque converter assembly
with large pulley on the slip element, large, low RPM centrifugal clutch,
chain sprocket & chain drive to car differential at bottom.

Electric Weel Motor (Generator)

   On the 8th Rick Linden came over and we started assembling the unit. We made some progress, but hit a snag. While I had made it sufficiently tall (or 'thick' - or 'long' as motors are usually measured) to accommodate the thickness of the rotor with the magnets around the rim, it needed considerably more room in the middle for the bearing assembly. The bearing for a 1.75" shaft is after all almost an inch thick. That might have been mounted on top, but it needed even more headroom in the center because the plastic rotor assumed a slightly "cupped" form, since the magnets all around the outside were attracted to the stator and it wasn't as solid as metal.
   We thought of spacers and mounting the top above the body of the outer/center rim. The more I thought about this the less I liked it. I decided to add an inch to the height by epoxying on 1" PP strapping. But I didn't have any 1", and decided to go with 1.5". Contrary to my original idea to make it no thicker than necessary, I decided that extra space is better than insufficient!
   On the 9th I epoxied on a ring of 3" nylon(?) strapping around the outside to form a solid wall to glue the 1.5" against. Three more sessions, days apart, were required and I finished the job on the 18th, but when it was done it looked like it had been made that way in the first place.

Epoxying on more layers of polypropylene strapping/webbing to extend the height.

Finished height extension, wiring it up, with diode rectifiers.

   I had bought a new weigh scale, because the old one, which had to have the button held down several tedious seconds to turn it off manually, had a penchant for turning itself off automatically even while pouring in epoxy. With the new one, I started dribbling in the last of the hardener from an almost empty can... and as it went in, the scale read 0... 0... 0... 0! The scale had decided for itself that the action was too slow, and that it would keep zeroing itself unbidden until the pace picked up, which of course it didn't! I took off the container and it now said minus 30 something grams instead of the minus 20 something it had been zeroed at. I only wanted 15 grams of hardener and I had to make a rough estimate of how much I had. When I added the resin, I dumped in a bunch at once to ensure it wouldn't simply zero itself again, and in doing so, I had already added too much. I had to add more hardener and so mixed more epoxy than I wanted, which surplus amount went to waste. Another worthless weigh scale! Where do the people who program microcontrollers in appliances come from?

   As there was now sufficient room inside and the rotor was still more flexible than desired, on the 24th I cut a larger reinforcement disc piece with the CNC router to glue to the other side to stiffen it. Later that day Rick and I solved ('glued') it on with methylene chloride.

   We decided to wire all 8 coils of each phase in series, with marettes connecting the two 4 coils per phase sections, and to put diodes directly inside the unit to rectify the 3 phase AC into DC. Then just have two wires coming out, "+" and"-". If the voltage is too high, we can change it to two parallel sets of 4 coils per phase, but usually the voltage from a generator is lower than you'd expect. In fact, it seemed to be only 2.25 volts at 60 RPM. Apparently coils with more turns of finer wire would have been better. But it should be workable.

Completed magnet rotor with 4 reinforcement pieces to reduce flex and "cupping".

"Green" Electric Equipment Projects

Aquaponics & LED Grow Lighting Project

Has Beans

   A few of the bean leaves here and there started to wilt. On the 11th I got out the scissors, snipped the vines to more manageable lengths, and pulled the beans out from the grow bed. They had bean there for 6 months, longer than they grow in the garden, and still there had been just one short lived flower and no beans had been had. There were some thick stems at the bottom, connected to thick masses of roots. The supports for the LED lights had to be extracted from the vines later, outdoors. In some areas the roots didn't have to be dug out of the lava rock. Rather, the lava rocks had to be shaken or pried from the clumps of roots. Even this wasn't feasible in some areas and I threw out the lava rocks with the roots. Perhaps I'll recover them later.
   A friend had visited a commercial aquaponics op in Powell River, and he reported to me that same day. (11th) He was told that for a small setup like mine, the drain-down bed was indeed the way to go. The rocks were more effective with the strong currents periodically flowing past. And the lumpy, porous lava rock was by far the best material, with ten times the surface area of smooth rocks.
   But beans? He was told: "You won't get anything. Grow leafy greens." Well, I guess the nutrient mix just isn't right for legumes. But I got two things out of three right! In fact, much of what I planted was leafy greens, but the beans grew so prolifically they shaded out and killed everything else. This time, no beans or peas! I'll go for just spinach, lettuce and (an aquaponics bed favorite if not a culinary one) basil. But I have seen tomatoes and peppers in various aquaponics videos, so those aren't to be ruled out.

More Tilapia?

   On the 17th I noticed the big female tilapia wasn't eating, or at least not much, and looked more closely. It appeared she had eggs in her mouth. This surprised me. The 3 tilapia in the aquarium are so aggressive I had to separate them with wire mesh into 3 compartments. But later she ate. Rats!

Electricity Storage

Turquoise Battery Making Project
Cylindrical Batteries?

Metallic Nickel Negodes from Cupro-Nickel Sheets & Micro-fine Nickel Powder

   Edison apparently used hot sulfuric acid to dissolve away layers of thin copper sheets from thin nickel sheets (each .001", I  think) in connection with making his nickel-iron batteries. It was said that the solution did have nickel sulfate in it - whether originally or as a result of reaction it didn't say explicitly, but it seems the spent solution was processed to recover the copper and nickel, so it was probably dissolving the nickel to some extent too.

   Initially I tried hydrochloric acid with hydrogen peroxide on a piece of nickel-brass. But that dissolves nickel, perhaps faster than copper. The piece ended up with a dull greenish appearance.

   I decided to use ferric chloride instead. We know it dissolves copper. It was highly likely it would do zinc, but it's
only a "mild" oxidant and it might leave nickel alone. My first idea was to simply assume this would be the case.

Experiment: But why trust to luck? I have pure zinc! I stuck a small piece of about .006" (34 gauge?) zinc in some ferric chloride etching solution to make sure it vanished. While I was at it, I stuck in a very thin flake of (?) .001 to .002" thick nickel too - a bit of nickel electroplating off a supermagnet or something. (In this measurement we hit the resolution limits of the digital caliper micrometer.) I expected the zinc to dissolve and the nickel to be inert (and who cared how long it took?), so I didn't properly note the times. All trials were at room temperature.


- The zinc dissolved in around 15 or 20 minutes.
- The very thin nickel flake dissolved, but it took over an hour. And the piece was rather curled up, so one side didn't sit flat on the bottom: it was dissolved from both sides, while the zinc would have been mainly from one side.
- We already know copper will dissolve, but how fast compared to the other two? I took a tiny piece and hammered it to about .006" thick, similar to the zinc. It wasn't gone in an hour, but it lost .001 or .002" thickness. I wasn't sure how clean the surface was to start with, and I had used only a little solution, so I did another copper piece, scraped it with a knife, and put it in more of the original solution in case the first one was weakening. Of course the copper pieces sat on the bottom, so mainly only the top was exposed. After around 3 hours for the first piece and 2 for the second, there wasn't much left.

Conclusions: It was hard to decide just how thick the nickel flake was - between .001" and .002" is double or half. And, I didn't record the starting times for each piece. (I look at the clock, and think I'll remember the time, but often I don't.) So all this is somewhat approximate. But the general impression is that zinc dissolves fairly quickly, while the nickel and copper take an order of magnitude longer, and both of them seem to dissolve at more relatively similar rates. Given the conditions, the copper probably reacts somewhat faster, but it depends on what one decides was the original thickness of the nickel flake, and which copper piece is most relevant.
   Taking the second piece of copper as two hours to dissolve (mainly from one side since it lay flat on the bottom) and .006" thick, with the nickel as .0015" and one hour to dissolve (more from both sides since it was curled - but first it was floating from surface tension for maybe 10 or 15 minutes), the copper would be perhaps around three or four times faster reacting than the nickel. (Say, that's better than I initially thought!) The hope that the nickel would be left behind without reacting was proven false, but since it seems to be slowest reacting, it looks like the process could make a good electrode. It might even be "optimum".

Next Experiment:

   I left a small piece of nickel-brass in ferric chloride for an hour. It was splotchy: some areas had a nickel (I presume) shine, while others were somewhat more yellowish like brass. Under 40x magnification there were rough ridges running one direction, suggesting that the metal alloy elements had separated somewhat during rolling. Presumably the zinc-rich "lanes" would have dissolved leaving these more copper and nickel rich ridges. The differences between the (presumably) brighter, silvery nickel shine and the more yellow tinted areas were one of degree. Both had lots of bright nickel bits at the surface, tho yellowy copper was more predominant.
   These are my interpretations of what I was looking at. Since zinc also has a bright shine, it's theoretically possible the exposed bright clusters were zinc rather than nickel. That would be contrary to expectations, but without electron microscopy or some other test, who knows? If there was no zinc in the alloy it would eliminate the chance that remaining zinc would cause anything unexpected.
   One thing to try was to agitate the solution with the nickel-brass in it, and see if it still has those splotchy areas. They could be the result of non-uniform exposure, perhaps with dissolved metal blocking the solution and slowing further action in some places. This produced lines in line with the waves made by agitation.

   I might try sulfuric acid some time, but I really don't expect better results than with ferric chloride.

   Perhaps a different alloy would be more ideal? One could leave the suspect zinc out, and just use something with more copper to dissolve out for more micro-porosity and more nickel - maybe Cu:Ni 60%:40%. Or, might one try some other 'sacrificial' metal besides zinc to dissolve out to maximize surface convolutions? Manganese? Aluminum? a heavy metal?

   There's probably an ideal alloy somewhere. But unless I'm going to take up metallurgy I'm probably stuck with what's freely available on the market.
   A search for monel (Ni:Cu 65:35%) revealed that metal companies seem to have improved their web presence since 2008-2009 when I looked before. Monel turned out to be overly expensive, but eventually I found cupro-nickel alloy (Cu:Ni 70:30%) - not far from the 60:40 idea above.
   The other variable is the concentration of ferric chloride and length of time it's left in the solution - and maybe whether ferric chloride is optimum anyway. Much copper and a little nickel should etch away to make a rough, convoluted surface, exposing far more nickel atoms for reaction than any smooth sheet of metal. Maybe an hour or so of etching would make for good results.

   A quite different idea would be to try 'brass' but with more zinc and less copper, like 50:50, or 60:40 Zn-Cu, or whatever. Dissolve out the zinc (HCl acid without H2O2 will dissolve zinc but not copper) and then electroplate the porous copper with nickel. But electroplating would probably build up a much smoother, less porous nickel surface than etching away. It would then have lower amp-hours per amount of nickel.

   Next, what about bonding the monel powder onto the surface of the nickel-brass (or monel) sheets? My best thought was to sinter them together, so that the pieces actually fuse metallicly, but just where points touch, not to the extent that the powder particles melt and flow together so it becomes a solid, smooth sheet. I've sort of tried to do this before, but I started thinking that a flux is required, and that some things would doubtless work much better than others. The flux keeps air away to prevent surface oxides that won't melt from forming, and in this job it needs to hold the monel powder on the sheet so the flame doesn't blow it away before it can bond. Borax is a commonly used flux, but I don't think it'll do the holding part, and it might be hard to remove. Salt will also blow away. I decided to try gum arabic from the art store. Apparently it's used in pyrotechnics as well as in food and ordinary things, so it must withstand a high temperature for a bit. And it'd be water soluble to rinse off afterward. (I think.) For heat, a high heat for a brief period with little oxygen is ideal - just melt the particles a little bit to fuse them into a porous solid. This heat can be had from a propane torch, passed fairly quickly over the work. (A few seconds total.)

   My first thought was that bonding the monel powder onto the sheet (into a single porous surface with "large" pores) should be done first, then the dissolving out for microporosity throughout. Fractal design!

   On the 6th I found "Senefelder's Gum Arabic Solution 14° baume" at an art supply store to use for a flux. I took my first little ferric chloride etched nickel-brass test sheet and painted some on, then I sprinkled on some monel powder. It seemed quite thick, but it was only .85mm total thickness. That's typical of a NiCd dry cell electrode, but I'm not doing rolled up electrodes and it should be twice that thick.
   The next morning I torched it for a few seconds. Then I looked at it through the 40x magnifying glass. It didn't look so much like the "fractal broccoli", but it was the same sort of idea. Shiny nickel/monel lumps on top of other lumps on top of others, with gaps in between where electrolyte would flow in and wet it all. In one place there seemed to be a bit of left over gum. I tried to rub the surface, and then to scrape some off with my thumbnail. I could feel a bit on my fingers on both tries, but most of it seemed pretty well adhered - doubtless better than anything I've done before. The thickness wasn't uniform enough that I could tell if it had shrunk any with the torching. It didn't seem like it. I meant to check the electrical resistance at this point, but forgot.

   Then I put the piece in ferric chloride for 20 minutes (again, at room temperature) to see how that would "fractalize" the surfaces of the tiny monel powder lumps. (An hour might dissolve them completely, or at least remove too much material.) That seemed to wreck things. Half the monel was gone, leaving the sheet underneath. Despite the torching, it seemed it was still the gum holding it down, and the ferric chloride had dissolved some of the gum.
   However, the appearance of the rest when magnified reminded me of a forest canopy. "Trees" filled all the spaces Many of the monel chunks didn't seem to have smooth surfaces any more.
   I tried torching part of it again, this time leaving the torch on until parts of it turned blue. I got slag and apparently no better bond. But perhaps the gum arabic could be the binder to hold the powder on, and it would be permeable to the electrolyte. It could be like the agar I tried to gel electrodes with quite a while back, or like the CMC gum used to 'glue' some electrodes together. (tho I think more on positive electrodes than negatives.) Electrical resistance from any point to any other was mostly under an ohm if not a dead short, usually with little pressure applied to the meter probes. (A couple of pounds? To break through any slag?) That seemed amazing for an electrode that hadn't even been compacted.

   As I noted in some TE News long ago, the untreated monel powder didn't seem to have anything like as much surface area per volume as one might hope. Yet etching such tiny grains would have to be done very carefully. A little too long in the etchant and there was likely to be not much left. And it would take time to dry and be usable.
   On the 7th I looked up fine nickel powder at micronmetals.com, and discovered that available "nickel flake" powders have much finer particles than the monel. Regardless of etching away copper from monel, it would seem that ultra-fine flakes, 1 to 5 microns in size, should have far more surface area per weight. So I ordered some.
   I went to order monel sheet as well, but it was too costly. I ordered cupro-nickel 70:30% sheet instead from NEAlloys.com. Here the zinc is gone and the sheets will have convolutions with more nickel on the surface, and the nickel powder probably won't need etching to be excellent. (Not that I won't probably try it and see if it helps.)
   On the 21st the nickel powder arrived. I compared it to the monel powder at maybe 8x magnification. It didn't seem much different. Then I tried 40x. At this scale I could see that the nickel "particles" were actually "fluffy" clumps of much finer very thin flakes, while the monel particles were fairly smooth skinned blobs or "potatos". The nickel micro-flakes obviously had far more surface area than the monel, by weight or by volume. The monel would spread out, while the nickel particles clumped together and didn't want to separate.

   It then occurred to me that another way to 'sinter' metal particles together is with pressure instead of heat. But was that necessary? An ohm meter showed that the powder (nickel flake or monel) in gum arabic on an etched nickel-brass sheet was an extremely conductive electrode with no more pressure than would press the electrode flat inside the cell anyway.

   Tentatively it would seem that the procedure should be (1) etch the nickel-brass  monel cupro-nickel sheet and the powder first, (2) apply the gum arabic and (3) sprinkle the etched monel powder fine nickel flake into the gum until it's saturated. Probably repeat (2) and (3) to get a thicker electrode. (4) Compact the electrode in the press... if it seems to improve it.

    I'm not so sure about pressing it. Unless the amount of gum is limited so it oozes through the powder as it's compacted. Otherwise it'll just be oozing out everywhere, or be non-compactable. It would appear just the pressure inside the battery should be enough to produce pretty much a short circuit between all points in the electrode, with the metals all being so conductive.
   But during discharge, exposed nickel turns into nickel hydroxide, so it's best that the flakes are connected by some bridge or other of copper or unexposed nickel, which might make some amount of compression valuable.

Dry Cell Assembly Is Made Easier!

   I've had the thought that rolling up sheets of cupro-nickel into tubes with an open seam (instead of making making a cupro-nickel "can" or a tube with a sealed seam) is actually a big advantage for assembly because the seam can be spread apart during assembly.
   The compacted powder central 'positrode' can be wrapped with separator paper and the carbon rod inserted. Then the slightly open outer 'negatrode' sheet (of cupro-nickel with nickel flake glued to the inside face) can be slipped up around it with no friction, ensuring that in that operation no nickel flake is rubbed off, the separator paper isn't ripped, the pressed 'positrode' doesn't crumble, and the carbon rod isn't cracked. Then as it's being inserted into the PVC pipe the outer sheet tightens around the inner part, but it's all inserted as a single unit. Nothing is sliding against anything else except the solid metal sheet against the PVC pipe.
   This greatly increases my level of confidence in the practicality of the cylinder layout. And if I find means to make carbon rods myself, I could see making cylinders as long as 5 or 6" or so, which might (hopefully) be 30 or 40 amp-hours. It seems small for EV or off grid use, but big batteries are built up from small cells or small plates.

Posode Compactor/Press

   Before the middle of the month I got together 6" long pipes and a spike of the right diameters to create the press for the central nickel manganate 'posodes'. The outer pipe was steel, about 19mm I.D., which will be the O.D. of the electrode. A pipe was found to fit inside. I was told it was was "cupro-nickel", copper with some nickel. It had unusual color, from silver-orange copper to silver-yellow brass to silver-white nickel, depending on the light. The pipe had to be filed off to slide in easily, partly because even over 6" it wasn't quite straight.
   This pipe material gave me the idea to look up and then look for 70:30 cupro-nickel sheet, instead of monel sheet. I ordered some on the 17th. It's cheaper and probably will end up after etching with a mainly nickel surface with more convolutions than monel.
   The inside diameter of that pipe was still .5", much fatter than the carbon rod. I got a piece of small stainless steel pipe for that, .5" O.D. and just over 11/32" I.D., a perfect fit for inside the cupro-nickel and an 11/32" diameter, 8" long spike to make a hole for the carbon rod. I machined the spike so the head fit just inside the outer pipe.
   So the electrode making procedure is to mix the ingredients, pour them into the outer pipe with spike sticking up, with a funnel, then push in the inner pipes and press them down with the hydraulic press until the powder has become a solid cylinder. Push it out, remove the spike, and insert the carbon rod.

The Posode Compactor

- spike for center hole for 8mm carbon rod
- outer body pipe, 17mm I.D. (O.D. of electrode)
- 2 telescoping pipes together 17mm O.D., 8mm I.D.,

to cram down the powder into a porous 'solid' with the hydraulic press..

Aluminum Ion DES Battery - "Moving Target" battery chemistries?

   Egads, stop the presses! Leonardo Elionix, whose manganese-air battery I mentioned in TE News #85, offered to send me some deep eutectic solvent (DES), "ethyline", that he had made from 2:1 molar ethylene glycol and choline chloride (antifreeze and vitamin B4). It freezes at -10°C and starts decomposing at 330°C.
   Again, "DES" is an inert compound of two or more salts combined at an ideal ratio, that is liquid at room temperature. People have made effective batteries with liquid salt electrolyte in place of water solution based, but they have to run at oven temperatures or higher to melt the salt. The idea of combining salts to get one with a below room temperature melting point seems to be pretty new, at least as applied to batteries.

   Then on the 11th I looked at an article a friend sent me a link to, on an aluminum ion battery using a polar DES electrolyte. It has never been possible to make a rechargeable or even stable battery with aluminum using water based electrolyte, because the high reaction voltage of aluminum causes the water to electrolyze and discharge the metal, making hydrogen gas plus aluminum hydroxide or some dissolved aluminum compound, without connecting an external circuit. The DES employed as an electrolyte evidently has a higher reaction or breakdown voltage than aluminum, and so it and the aluminum are inert until an external circuit is connected.
   The new chemistry seems to have various advantages over lithium ion, including that it's safer (can't explode), cheap, fast to charge and discharge, and it seems to have "forever" cycle life (as I believe I've also found in NiMn and NiNi) having been cycled 7500 times with no apparent loss of capacity. It's certainly simple: In discharging, aluminum in the negode releases an electron, becomes a chloride ion and migrates to the graphite posode, where it absorbs an electron to become an aluminum chloride compound. In charging the opposite effect deposits the aluminum back onto the sheet, seemingly pretty much as it was, with no formation of dendrites ("tentacles", "strands") as occurs with zinc.

   The NiNi [dry?] cell construction I worked out only last month (March) and it should work great if I can assemble it so it doesn't fall apart, short out or leak significantly - as it is specifically designed to accomplish. And I'd just figured out in the last couple of weeks how to make a fabulous nickel 'negode'. The gum arabic seems like it'll gel the nickel flake to the metal and make it work really well. I'd just ordered fine (and pricey) nickel flake, and I was in conversation with a manufacturer to order monel sheet metal. The the previous day I had obtained and cut pieces of metal pipe to make a positive electrode compactor for the cells. After months of not knowing what to do next, it was virtually all set to go.

   Now I hear of a brand new chemistry that sounds better, cheaper, simpler, practical to make, and has some good research behind it: the aluminum ion DES cell. Except for obtaining the electrolyte, it sounds even easier to make. Perhaps the ethyline would work? (Admittedly wishful thinking.) Or perhaps I can buy the same stuff the researchers at Harvard used, somewhere. Hmm... my dad got his PhD from Harvard... around 1951... can that possibly be of any use?

   So now what? It looks very much worth trying out. If 'production' cells works like the prototype test results show, most other battery chemistries just might be dead in the DES. Would I then be wasting my time doing the NiNi?

   Or perhaps I'm drawing hasty conclusions... DES.es could enable many new types of cell chemistries, particularly if the ultra-low evaporation rate Leonardo claims were to make air (oxygen) electrodes practical. The Elionix manganese-air cell sounded great. Where I spent a lot of time and trials finding trace additives to get manganese to hold its "a little too high" negative voltage charge in salty water solution, his ethyline electrolyte probably has a higher breakdown voltage than water, so manganese simply works in it without issues. And what about nickel-air, or maybe even aluminum-air, with ethyline? A long lasting rechargeable cell with an air electrode is almost a "holy grail" for battery making. It removes most of the weight and bulk of what is usually the less energy dense electrode, making much higher energy densities possible. The fact that water in contact with air evaporates, yet the air electrode can't be flooded or contained, makes it hard to maintain the requisite humidity over any length of time. A DES with a very low evaporation rate might change the picture.

   I smugly thought I had two battery chemistries that were better and safer than anything out there, but was having trouble making practical batteries of any sort. And now, just when I thought I had everything all figured out, DES.es may bring out new, seemingly superior battery chemistries with a variety of new possibilities, all suddenly "dumped in my lap" for consideration. All very exciting, but I really hate moving targets!

   But perhaps I can use the new cell construction I've just devised, and just change what goes into it. ...Or would flat again be better for a cell with an air electrode? I think I'll just go with the Ni-Ni chemistry I've devised for now, and try it with the ethyline DES electrolyte as well as with salt solution. Theoretically I could have started this immediately using the monel powder and the nickel-brass, but I decided to wait for the nickel micro flake/powder and cupro-nickel 70:30 sheet, which I finally got ordered by the 17th.
   The cupro-nickel sheet arrived on the 29th, so I expect I'll put together a cell next month. Unlike the sample piece of pipe, it was very silvery without much or any trace of orange copper color. I'm guessing that the pipe was 90:10 Cu:Ni alloy while the sheet metal is 70:30, and that the 30% bright nickel 'overrides' the copper's color, just as the nickel-brass is silvery color even with 65% copper.

   The ethyline hadn't arrived by May 3rd. I suspect that the post office, not knowing what it is, will refuse to deliver it, or customs will refuse to let me have it. I can't even find ethyline on the web, except that it seems to be the French spelling of ethylene, the name of a rock band, and a subcomponent of some organic compounds with very long names. Leonardo's instructions were a little sketchy for me, but I'll check out chemistry supplies for the ingredients and write to him if I can't figure out how to make it.

Victoria BC Canada