Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Carbon Nanotube Cable Surpasses Copper
We have always suspected that nanotubes could be used to make a conductive wire and we now have demonstrations that this is so. Not a surprise, but the methods still had to be invented.
I am looking forward to the establishment of continuous production in which the tubes lack significant breaks providing a super strong cable. In time we will see bridge cables if not the magic tether into space.
Obviously such cable can be produced in industrial quantities and will quickly find their way into electronic devices.
This item is mainly a benchmark confirmation.
Lightweight Cable Made of Braided Nanotubes Could Replace Copper Wires
By Rebecca Boyle Posted 09.07.2011
Nanocable A power cable made entirely of iodine-doped double-walled carbon nanotubes is just as efficient as traditional power cables at a sixth the weight of copper and silver.
Zhao/Rice University Yao
Cables made out of nanowires could be just as efficient as the copper cables we’ve been using for more than a century, but at a fraction of the weight, according to a new paper. Braiding billions of carbon nanotubes into a nanowire cable can efficiently replace copper in a light bulb circuit.
Traditional cables are made by braiding or twisting together two or more wires or optical fibers, usually metal or silicon, to carry a current or signal. In a new study,
researchers instead used double-walled carbon nanotubes, made of concentric
rolled-up sheets of graphene. Rice
To make the cable, the team grew billions of nanotubes and spun them with a polymer into tiny wires just a few centimeters long. The wires were doped with iodine to keep them stable, and then they could be tied together without compromising their conductivity, according to a Rice news release. The resulting cable is corrosion-resistant and is much lighter and less dense than copper. Its conductivity-to-weight ratio, known as specific conductivity, is better than copper and silver — it’s second only to sodium in the suite of metals with the highest specific conductivity, the researchers say.
To prove it worked, Rice doctoral student
Zhao built a circuit that directed power
through the nanocable, replacing copper wire. He turned on a CFL bulb and let
it shine for several days, and saw no signs of degradation in the nanocable. Tests
showed it would be just as strong and durable as copper, and would work in a
wide range of temperatures, the team says. Yao
The next step is to make longer, thicker cables that can carry a greater current, according to Enrique Barrera, a Rice professor of mechanical engineering and materials science. The nanocables could someday be used in aircraft, spacecraft and cars, and could someday even replace electrical wiring in homes, the team says. Barrera and Zhao explain the technique in the video below.
The work appears in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.