Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers power line-voltage light bulb with nanotube wire

Date:
September 8, 2011
Source:
Rice University
Summary:
Cables made of carbon nanotubes are inching toward electrical conductivities seen in metal wires, and that may light up interest among a range of industries.

Rice University researcher Yao Zhao shows a demonstration rig in which he uses a short piece of carbon nanotube cable to provide standard line voltage to a fluorescent light bulb.
Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

Cables made of carbon nanotubes are inching toward electrical conductivities seen in metal wires, and that may light up interest among a range of industries, according to Rice University researchers.

A Rice lab made such a cable from double-walled carbon nanotubes and powered a fluorescent light bulb at standard line voltage -- a true test of the novel material's ability to stake a claim in energy systems of the future.

The work appears this week in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

Highly conductive nanotube-based cables could be just as efficient as traditional metals at a sixth of the weight, said Enrique Barrera, a Rice professor of mechanical engineering and materials science. They may find wide use first in applications where weight is a critical factor, such as airplanes and automobiles, and in the future could even replace traditional wiring in homes.

The cables developed in the study are spun from pristine nanotubes and can be tied together without losing their conductivity. To increase conductivity of the cables, the team doped them with iodine and the cables remained stable. The conductivity-to-weight ratio (called specific conductivity) beats metals, including copper and silver, and is second only to the metal with highest specific conductivity, sodium.

Yao Zhao, who recently defended his dissertation toward his doctorate at Rice, is the new paper's lead author. He built the demo rig that let him toggle power through the nanocable and replace conventional copper wire in the light-bulb circuit.

Zhao left the bulb burning for days on end, with no sign of degradation in the nanotube cable. He's also reasonably sure the cable is mechanically robust; tests showed the nanocable to be just as strong and tough as metals it would replace, and it worked in a wide range of temperatures. Zhao also found that tying two pieces of the cable together did not hinder their ability to conduct electricity.

The few centimeters of cable demonstrated in the present study seems short, but spinning billions of nanotubes (supplied by research partner Tsinghua University) into a cable at all is quite a feat, Barrera said. The chemical processes used to grow and then align nanotubes will ultimately be part of a larger process that begins with raw materials and ends with a steady stream of nanocable, he said. The next stage would be to make longer, thicker cables that carry higher current while keeping the wire lightweight. "We really want to go better than what copper or other metals can offer overall," he said.

The paper's co-authors are Tsinghua researcher Jinquan Wei, who spent a year at Rice partly supported by the Armchair Quantum Wire Project of Rice University's Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology; Robert Vajtai, a Rice faculty fellow in mechanical engineering and materials science; and Pulickel Ajayan, the Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and professor of chemistry and chemical and biomolecular engineering.

The Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America, the Department of Energy and Air Force Research Laboratory supported the project.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rice University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yao Zhao, Jinquan Wei, Robert Vajtai, Pulickel M. Ajayan, Enrique V. Barrera. Iodine doped carbon nanotube cables exceeding specific electrical conductivity of metals. Scientific Reports, 2011; 1 DOI: 10.1038/srep00083

Cite This Page:

Rice University. "Researchers power line-voltage light bulb with nanotube wire." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110907104701.htm>.
Rice University. (2011, September 8). Researchers power line-voltage light bulb with nanotube wire. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110907104701.htm
Rice University. "Researchers power line-voltage light bulb with nanotube wire." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110907104701.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) British scientists have developed a prototype graphene paint that can make coatings which are resistant to liquids, gases, and chemicals. The team says the paint could have a variety of uses, from stopping ships rusting to keeping food fresher for longer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins