Researchers develop CNT-Cu (Carbon Nanotubes and Copper) material using carbon nanotubes for next-gen conductors

Researchers from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan, have developed a new material called CNT-Cu (Carbon Nanotubes and Copper) which makes possible lighter conductors that can carry larger currents.

Researchers, led by Indian chemist Dr. Subramaniam Chandramouli, have created this material by embedding carbon nanotubes in copper. It resulted into a new material “CNT-Cu” with boosted ampacity to a massive 10,000%, with an electrical conductivity comparable to that of copper.

What is Ampacity?

Ampacity is the maximum amount of current a conductor can carry before losing its electrical properties. The larger the ampacity the better is the performance.

Why do we need materials with high ampacity?

A material with higher ampacity and which is simultaneously conductive is required to withstand, handle and transport the increasing current densities of modern electronics.

What is special with CNT-Cu (Carbon Nanotubes and Copper) ?

CNT-Cu consists of 45% CNTs by volume, and is less dense than a pure copper conductor by 42%. An advantage of the material is that it reduces the amount of copper required and provides 100 times higher performance.

How CNT-Cu (Carbon Nanotubes and Copper)  is better than copper?

CNT-Cu conductors has an edge over copper conductors in a way that the CNT-Cu achieves higher ampacity by suppressing electromigration that occurs in copper wires, where electrons are scattered off their path by copper atoms. As electrons move inside the conductor, they are often scattered by atoms in their path. As the current density increases, scattering also increases until, at a threshold called the conductor’s rating, the material can no longer conduct the electrons, resulting in electro-migration.

In case of CNT-Cu, the negatively charged particles are channelled to move through a continuous mesh-like network formed by the nanotubes, averting scattering.



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