Ultra Conductive Copper-Carbon Nanotube Wire
Ultrawire is an EU FP7 project which took place from 1 October 2013 to September 2016.
Ultrawire aimed to develop a copper nanocarbon composite with significantly improved overall properties, including electrical, thermal and mechanical performances over bulk copper. Copper and copper alloys are the most common traditional materials used in electrical energy distribution systems. However, modern applications show an increasing demand for better heat and electric current carrying capacity and require significant quantities of highly efficient conductor materials. Combining copper with high performance nanocarbons to produce ultraconductive copper could deliver a step change in the overall performance of copper based electrical conductors to meet current and future needs. Copper nanocarbon composites could form the next generation of conductors, where copper contributes the benefits of electrical conductivity, whereas nanocarbon brings to this composite its low weight, flexibility, mechanical reinforcement and thermal management. The project also aimed to develop a production process that will be scalable to large volume manufacture.
The Ultrawire consortium members were: Cambridge University, University of Aalto at Helsinki, AGH Krakow University of Science and Technology, Aurubis Belgium, National Grid Electricity Transmission, Peugeot Citroen Automobiles, PE International, KME Germany, Outotec Oy, Institute of Occupational Medicine, Invro, Cambridge Nanomaterials Technology, Wieland-Werke, Nexans France.
SAFENANO lead the safety and risk work package, involving detailed characterisation and assessment of the potential risks presented by materials and processes, developed throughout the duration of the project. An industry-focussed risk assessment/safe working practice guide was developed for the production, processing and disposal of carbon nanotubes and copper-nanocarbon wire.
The UltraWire project was featured on the BBC News flagship technology programme 'Click'. To watch the UltraWire project video, visit our YouTube Channel