Lightweight Electric Wires and Cables from CNT-Cu Composites for Airborne Platforms

Period of Performance: 09/16/2015 - 12/21/2017


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Global Research & Development, Inc.
539 Industrial Mile Rd Array
Columbus, OH 43228
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT:This proposal is aimed at the development of an electrical conductor that is lighter weight and has two- to three-times higher current carrying ability per weight when compared to rated copper (Cu) or aluminum (Al) wires for Air force applications. Our approach will be to generate a carbon nanotube/Cu composite using a metallized carbon nanotube forest. We will explore carbon nanotube forests grown on substrates and later removed. The carbon nanotubes will be fabricated into a paper where the carbon nanotubes will be aligned. The carbon nanotube paper will then be metalized by electroplating process to form carbon nanotube wire and strip composites. The composites will then be tested for conductivity and ampacity. The objective is to demonstrate the feasibility of a carbon nanotube/Cu composite which will target the best combined conductor properties for Air Force (AF) applications, combining high electrical current per weight, electrical conductivity, flexibility, mechanical strength, and stability using a scalable and affordable fabrication method.BENEFIT:The results of this work can lead to the development of high ampacity conductors for Air Force applications, in particular, lightweight electric wires and cables, but the work can be applicable to much larger capacity conductors (for large power transport) as well as much smaller capacity, for electronics applications. For the Air force needs, the key aspects are in size and weight reductions in the final aircraft, leading to fuel saving and efficiency. The other commercial applications are electrical wiring for the Power Industry (transformers, fault current limiters, generators, and motors), and Transportation (ships, trains, and automobiles).