High-Performance Carbon Wires Could Help Prevent Energy Blackouts
Traditional copper wires have excellent electrical conductivity, but they also oxidize and corrode, are susceptible to vibration fatigue, and create premature electronics failures due to overheating conditions. Researchers at the UK's University of Cambridge have achieved an unprecedented level of control over the properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on a large scale, resulting in nanotubes that can be used in electrical systems. New super-strong electrical wires made from CNTs are one-tenth the weight of copper, and if used in conventional systems, would make vehicles more fuel efficient and greatly reduce losses in electricity transmission. The new carbon wires can even be joined to conventional metal wires, which until now has not been possible. The University of Cambridge researchers are working to achieve comparable levels of conductivity to copper in order to accelerate the commercial development of carbon wiring.