Perspectives

Ramping Up Energy Storage: Designing a Sustainable Mechanical Battery

As the world population rises and a global consumer-driven culture intensifies, scientists and leaders alike must streamline energy storage practices with ethical and sustainable solutions. We propose a mechanical ramp battery that stores gravitational potential energy from input work required to push an object up an incline at a constant speed. The battery releases energy that can be measured through output work required to bring the object down an incline at a constant speed. Friction is an inherent part of this battery and is why we prioritized efficiencies, calculating energy storage efficiency to be 0.996, energy release efficiency, 0.960, and overall efficiency, 0.957. With respect to efficiency, this battery compares well to the Lithium-Ion battery and is already being tested by the US Bureau of Land Management in the Advanced Rail Energy Storage experiment (ARES). While we only assess the efficiency of this battery for one specific ramp, it is crucial to evaluate how the angle of the ramp to the horizontal, strength of the materials, and the way energy is being stored and released affects efficiency. Considering these factors, mechanical batteries can bring us one step closer to solving the global energy demand and facilitating other sustainable energy storage practices.

Parkinsonian gait

New technology explores the prediction of the freezing of gait to improve lives.

America’s Broken Healthcare System

Analyzing the factors behind America’s expensive yet ineffective healthcare system.

The History of the Universe: A Gamma-ray Perspective

Using new technologies to study and estimate extragalactic background light can lead to discoveries about galaxies and the evolution of the Universe.

History of Parallel Distributed Processing

PDP: Understanding How Neurons Model Human Decision Making Processes

The Place of Classical Physics in Today’s World

At a time when so much hype surrounds advances in modern physics, it is important to recognize how much potential the physics we learn in school still has.

Gene drives: Genetically Engineering an Entire Species

A closer look at the double-edged sword that gene drives present

Believing in Imagination

Although widely viewed as a childish activity, playing pretend as an adult stimulates creativity and encourages socialization.

The Wild as a Laboratory

Why do we conserve large stretches of nature? The answer may lie in the ability of untouched ecosystems to serve as model specimens.

Measuring Police Respect

Linguistic models of police-civilian interactions during traffic stops reveal racial biases in the politeness of law enforcement.

Hacking Our Planet

Though geoengineering proposes a quick fix to climate issues, its potentially wide-reaching consequences make it difficult to test.

Detecting Star Collisions

LIGO’s capability to detect gravitational waves allows scientists to observe celestial mergers, like binary black hole coalescence.

Artificial Intelligence's Path

For all AI has grown drastically in recent years, fears that it will lead to destructive superintelligences may be unfounded.

Algorithmic Healthcare

Artificial intelligence can improve doctors’ diagnostic and predictive ability, but its use in medicine faces considerable challenges.