Wire revolution: RIT wins Department of Energy award to improve wiring for advanced electric equipment

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Carbon-based wires, an alternative to copper, may improve electronic machine performance and connectivity because of enhanced strength, less corrosion and light-weight properties

July 18, 2017 by Michelle Cometa Follow Michelle Cometa on TwitterFollow RITNEWS on TwitterA. Sue Weisler
Faculty-researchers Ivan Puchades, left, Reginald Rogers and Brian Landi are working with corporate and government partners to develop nanocarbon-based wires that could replace traditional copper wiring for equipment to impact the longevity and durability of today’s electronic devices.

Researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology are working with corporate and government partners to develop more efficient, durable and cost-effective carbon nanotube technology in electronic components and systems that now use copper wiring.

“Depending on how bold a perspective you want to give, what we are embracing is a wire revolution,” said Brian Landi, associate professor of chemical engineering in RIT’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering. “That’s the big picture view—if we could create affordable carbon wiring that has the electrical properties competitive with metal wiring, we would have a completely disruptive technology that would supplant metal wiring in select portable applications.”

RIT researchers won an award of $1 million from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) advanced manufacturing office for “Nanometal-interconnected carbon conductors for advanced electric machines.” Landi is the principal investigator on the project, working with government partners at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and industry leaders Nanocomp Technologies and Minnesota Wire. With the implementation of numerous advanced manufacturing initiatives across the U.S., and RIT’s involvement in seven of 14 of them, this DOE project is a parallel effort at the research stage to advance technologies that could be commercialized by the research team’s corporate partners.

Bend a copper wire and eventually it breaks. Not so with nanocarbon-based wires, and the physical properties of this new materials technology could impact the longevity and durability of today’s electrical …

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