Carbon Nanotube Yarn Usage Is A Step Toward Lightweight, Efficient Electric Drives


Engineers at Finland's Lappeenranta University of Technology have constructed the first electrical motor using a textile material - carbon nanotube yarn. Traditionally, the windings in electrical machines are made of copper, which has the second best conductivity of metals at room temperature. Despite the high conductivity of copper, a large proportion of the electrical machine losses occur in the copper windings. For this reason, the Joule losses are often referred to as copper losses. The carbon nanotube yarn does not have a definite upper limit for conductivity. The motor prototype output power is 40 W, it rotates at 15,000 RPM, and has almost a 70% efficiency. The researchers say that in the near future, carbon nanotube fibers have potential to significantly enhance the performance and energy efficiency of electrical machines.