Clean Technology 2009

Development of high-conductivity aluminum wires using carbon nanotubes coatings

E.C. Diniz, R.H.R. Castro
FEI University Center, BR

Keywords: carbon nanotubes, energy transmission, deposition, film


In the last few decades, the carbon nanotubes have been the target of intense scientific and technological studies because of their unique mechanical and electrical properties. A possible way of exploring the nanotubes capabilities is through a thin film over metallic surfaces, which may confer to the metal some of their properties. Thin films can be made through electrophoretic deposition (EPD). The objective of this work was to explore the high electric conductivity of carbon nanotubes, known as quantum wires due to the behavior of quantum electronic transmission, to increase the electric conductivity of aluminum cables and wires and reduce the losses in the energy transmission system. To perform the EPD of the CNTs, a constant voltage of 5V and 6-10mA of current was applied in a water dispersion (0.05mg/mL) of acid functionalized SWCNT, with pH set to 7 by the addition of sodium hydroxide in order to optimize the zeta potential of the carbon nanotubes. The aluminum wire where the CNTs were supposed to be deposited was used as the positive electrode, and an aluminum pipe worked as the negative electrode. The system was turned off after 5 minutes of deposition forming a thin film of CNTs over the aluminum wire. The electrical conductivity of the coated aluminum wire was measured and compared with conventional materials. The results were very expressive and the conductivity increased by around two times when compared with wires made of aluminum or conventional steel, reducing the losses for Joule effect. Due to the small thickness of the CNTs coating and the relatively fast and easy application technique, this significant increase in the conductivity open new perspectives for wire and cables of aluminum.
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