Supercapacitors release "super energy"


  Seizing space and competing for "control of the sky" has become an important part of winning the future information war. To establish a powerful space defense system, it is inseparable from precise and high-energy space weapons, such as directed energy weapons represented by high-power pulsed laser weapons. These weapons have amazing power and are indispensable to win the future "sky war".

  Supercapacitor, as the most important energy supply component in high-power pulsed laser weapons, is a new type of energy storage device that can burst out huge energy in a short period of time. It is widely used in armored vehicles, ships, aerospace vehicles and other weapons and equipment that require large pulse discharge power, and its role in the future battlefield cannot be underestimated.

  Form a "golden partner" with the second-generation chemical battery

  To win the future information war, the battlefield power supply of the new generation of weapons and equipment is indispensable, which puts forward new requirements for the function of the energy storage device. At present, the widely used energy storage devices are second-generation chemical batteries such as lead-acid batteries, nickel-metal hydride batteries, and lithium batteries. These batteries provide energy for the power supply system of individual soldiers and the hybrid electric drive system of combat vehicles. However, they have their own "short boards", such as low output power density, slow charging speed, short cycle life, and so on. These "short boards" are used in icy and snowy areas (the temperature is too low, low-power batteries cannot effectively "wake up" the equipment), plains and open areas (no shelter, once the weapons and equipment "break down", they need to be charged as soon as possible) and heavily wet areas (batteries are easy to wake up). Corrosion and failure) and other specific battlefield environments will cause the equipment to "drop the chain", thus greatly reducing the combat effectiveness.

  In order to avoid the "short board" of the battery from causing the equipment to "drop the chain" on the complex and changeable battlefield, supercapacitors came into being under the research of researchers.

  It is a third-generation physical energy storage device that is similar to batteries but differs to a certain extent. Unlike batteries, which do not undergo chemical reactions during charging and discharging, the storage or release of electrical energy is a fast physical process established through an electrostatic field, and is not limited by complex and time-consuming chemical reactions like batteries. Therefore, the specific power of a supercapacitor can reach hundreds of times that of a chemical battery, and it can form a current of hundreds of amps to thousands of amps in a short period of time, thereby instantly "activating" the device at an extremely low temperature.

  At the same time, since the charging and discharging of supercapacitors is a physical process, it can be charged with a large current and can be completed within tens of seconds to a few minutes, which can save precious battlefield time and prevent tanks and other equipment from becoming "live targets".

  In addition to the characteristics of high specific power and fast charging speed, supercapacitors also have a cycle life that is at least a hundred times higher than that of chemical batteries, and can be charged and discharged millions of times, which can greatly save money.

  According to the above characteristics, supercapacitors can effectively complement chemical batteries, and through proper unit design, their functions can be diversified, becoming the "golden partner" of the information battlefield.

  The start of the engine under some extreme conditions is a vivid example of the "win-win cooperation" of this pair of golden partners: they have a clear division of labor and a tacit cooperation, which can be called the "energy duo" of battlefield equipment. Why do you say this? It turns out that supercapacitors and batteries are used in the electric start system of internal combustion engines, which can effectively protect the batteries, prolong their life and reduce their equipped capacity. Especially in the case of low temperature and power loss, the discharge capacity of the battery will drop significantly, which will cause the armored vehicle to start slowly or even fail to start, greatly reducing the battlefield mobility and reaction speed. The supercapacitor has a wide operating temperature range, and the discharge characteristics are basically unchanged at temperatures above -40°C, and can still maintain high-current discharge characteristics, thereby ensuring the normal power supply of the electric start system and making the tank "activate" successfully at one time.

  It can be called the "energy core" of many military equipment

  If the use of supercapacitors combined with chemical batteries in the hybrid electric start system of land tanks is only an "assist", then it is applied to weapons and equipment systems with high operating power such as submarines, naval electromagnetic guns, and high-power beam energy weapon power supplies. In terms of performance, its performance can be called "outstanding".

  The comprehensive propulsion of submarine electric power involves key steps such as power generation, power transmission, power transformation, propulsion and energy storage, and is a huge system engineering. In the previous electric transmission, the power station for the propulsion system and the electric station for the submarine equipment were two separate systems. Assuming low-speed cruising, not so much power is used, and the power station can only run at low speed, which is not cost-effective. The electric integrated propulsion system regards the power station and the power station as a whole. Low-speed cruising can allow the high-power power station to run at full capacity, and at the same time provide power for the propulsion motor and submarine equipment, and turn off the power station to achieve "maximum use of everything" , The effect of reducing costs. Because submarines have high requirements for integrated electric propulsion, the supercapacitor module can be used as a supplementary emergency power supply for the electric integrated propulsion system. During the normal operation of the system, the electric energy is collected and stored to play the role of a battery. In an emergency state, when the power supply is insufficient to drive the normal operation of the entire power system, the characteristics of instantaneous charging and discharging of supercapacitors can be used to release the stored electric energy instantly to provide high-power supplementary power for the power system, so that the entire system Quickly restore and enter the normal operation state, greatly enhance the wartime response ability, and enhance the combat effectiveness.

  In terms of combat weapon systems, supercapacitors often have a "protagonist halo", and play an important role in some high-end weapons and equipment. Electromagnetic gun, also called pulse power electromagnetic gun, is a pure electric energy weapon that uses electromagnetic acceleration technology to launch projectiles. The orbital railgun launch prototype consists of two parallel rails, and the projectile is sandwiched between the rails that are connected to the power supply. The current flows to the projectile through one guide rail, and then flows to the other guide rail to generate a strong magnetic field. The interaction between the magnetic field and the current will form a strong Lorentz force to push the projectile, making it reach a high speed. On this basis, thousands of capacitors are connected in parallel to the track to form a super capacitor, and the electric energy stored in the capacitor is released instantly to obtain huge current and amazing electromagnetic thrust. If the electromagnetic gun is used as a direct fire support weapon and equipped with a supercapacitor to be installed on a combat ship, it will greatly improve the ship's damage capability and help "lock the victory" in advance.

  At the same time, as a high-power pulse power supply, supercapacitors can also be used in directed energy weapon power systems. Directed energy weapons, also known as "beam energy weapons", are weapons that use various beam energies to generate powerful lethality. Because of the different carriers of the emitted energy, they can be divided into laser weapons, particle beam weapons, and microwave weapons. The common features of these weapon systems are: the propagation speed of the beam energy can be close to that of the beam, and once it is pointed at the target, it can hit the target, achieving "wherever you point and hit"; the energy of the beam energy is concentrated and huge, and the output power can reach hundreds to thousands of kilowatts , after hitting the target, it can be destroyed or melted; the beam can gather fine and come very suddenly, it is difficult for the enemy to find out where it comes from, so it is too late to avoid or fight, and it can "kill the enemy invisible".

  Many countries in the world are competing to climb the "energy peak"

  It is precisely because of the excellent performance of supercapacitors that they are favored by many countries. The complexity and diversity of future informatization and even intelligent battlefield environments put forward higher requirements for the capacity, size and stability of supercapacitors, thus accelerating the pace of developing supercapacitors with more powerful performance in various countries for upgrading weapons and equipment Replacement, so as to win the initiative in the war.

  At present, the civilian product technology of supercapacitors in the world is becoming more and more mature, but in terms of military product technology, all countries are secretive, and they are usually used in military equipment through customization or upgrading of industrial products. AVX Corporation of the United States has launched aerospace-grade "base metal" electrodes and dielectric multilayer ceramic supercapacitors. These electronic devices exhibit the same capacitance-voltage characteristics as those of "noble metal" (such as gold, silver, platinum, etc.) electrode supercapacitors, and are more The small size provides higher capacitance values, reducing board space and overall device weight. They plan to apply it to the energy supply of manned and unmanned vehicles and orbiting satellites. The Evans company in the United States has developed a large supercapacitor with a working voltage of 120 volts, a stored energy of more than 35 kilojoules, and a power higher than 20 kilowatts. It can be used as a compact ultra-high-power pulse power supply for airborne laser weapons.

  In order to meet military needs, South Korea's LS Mtron has cooperated with the military to produce a series of different types of supercapacitors, which are used in military fields such as fuel and battery electric unmanned combat vehicles, intelligent battlefield robots, etc., providing technology for unmanned battlefields and equipment support. Japan's NCC Corporation is also working on developing a new type of large-capacity electrical supercapacitor, and introducing a new structure of conductive polymers, which can reduce the quality and volume of the capacitor and increase the power density. The company plans to cooperate with the United States in military projects to further tap its potential in high-power output military weapons.

  Judging from the development of some military powers, the application of supercapacitors in electric integrated propulsion systems is relatively mature, but in the application of pulse power technology represented by laser weapons, there are still problems of low working voltage and large internal resistance.

  In recent years, many countries around the world are committed to the research of improving the power density and reducing the internal resistance of supercapacitors. It is believed that in the near future, with the high energy and miniaturization of supercapacitors, the development of beam energy weapons will advance by leaps and bounds, laser guns and laser cannons will become popular, and "Star Wars" may not only exist in science fiction movies .

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