For aerospace and airborne applications, the aircraft needs to be lighter than air, the copper among cable assemblies is substituted by carbon nanotubes. A carbon nanotube is a structure that involves an array of electronics, magnetic and mechanical properties in it. The basic reason of substituting the copper/steel with carbon nanotubes is that it is 1000 times stronger than steel and only one-sixth as heavy. It is also better in electrical and thermal conductivity than copper. This is how the Ultra- Lightweight Cable Assemblies are manufactured.
Carbon nanotube types
There are usually many types of carbon nanotubes but the most commonly could be categorized as follows.
1) Single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT)
Single-walled as per its name forms a structure of a regular straw. It has only one layer and the shape is cylindrical relative to the shape of cable assemblies.
2) Multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT)
A multi-walled carbon nanotube is a collection of multiple walled nanotubes nested together in the increasing diameters. They can reach from one outer and one inner to as many nanotubes as required.
The high performance, better sustainability and less prone to get damaged ultra-lightweight cables is having an increasing demand in the market. Because of the use of carbon nanotubes (CNT), the estimated cost of the ultra-lightweight cable is greater than the ordinary aerospace cable. But the advantage of using CNT in the applications is that it has the potential of providing shielding to electrical path.
Technology Adoption Lifecycle
Presently with the increase in research in the CNT and its market abundance, its price will gradually reduce as semiconductor technology. Earlier, when semiconductor technology was introduced in the market the adopters of this technology were very few. But with the passage of time, this technology reduced the size of many applications and is progressing with a continuously increasing demand. So, CNT does promise a great future coming ahead. Due to the less weight, it automatically reduces the total launching cost among the satellites, UAV, and aircraft.