Today in History – August 27, 2003 – World’s largest battery is connected to provide emergency power to Fairbanks, Alaska’s second-largest city. Backup power is critical here as Alaska could become an “electrical island” when the power lines go down. In fact, environmental conditions cause a total city blackout every two or three years. In this $35 million rechargeable battery array, 13,760 large nickel-cadmium cells weigh a total of 1,300 tons and cover 2,000 square meters.
See the Engineering Pathway’s educational resources on batteries. For related curricular resources, visit the Electrical Engineering Education or the Mechanical Engineering Education disciplinary communities.
Also on this date in 1875, Gallium is discovered by P.E. Lecoq de Boisbaudran. His first spectroscopic analysis of the tiny amount (he estimated 1/100 mg) an unknown violet line at 417.0, indicating a new element. Except for mercury, caesium, and rubidium, Gallium is the only metal which can be liquid near room temperatures. It is also used in semiconductor applications. See the Engineering Pathway’s educational resources on Gallium or visit the Electrical Engineering Education, Materials Engineering Education or the Chemical Engineering Education disciplinary communities for curricular resources.