Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Nanoforum report describing Nanotechnology and Construction

07.11.2006
Nanotechnology is the use of very small particles of material either by themselves or by their manipulation to create new large scale materials. The size of the particles, though, is very important because at the length scale of the nanometre, 10-9m, the properties of the material actually become affected. The precise size at which these changes are manifested varies between materials, but is usually in the order of 100 nm or less.

Nanotechnology is not a new science and it is not a new technology. It is rather an extension of the sciences and technologies that have already been in development for many years and it is the logical progression of the work that has been done to examine the nature of our world at an ever smaller scale.

A nanometre is a billionth of a metre and at that size the classical mechanics of the everyday cross over into the quantum mechanics of the nano-world. The two are, of course, linked and recent developments in the study and manipulation of materials and processes at the nanoscale offer the tantalizing prospect of producing new macro materials, properties and products. The construction business will inevitably be a beneficiary of this nanotechnology; in fact it already is in the fields of concrete, steel and glass. Concrete is stronger, more durable and more easily placed, steel tougher and glass self-cleaning. Increased strength and durability are also a part of the drive to reduce the environmental footprint of the built environment by the efficient use of resources. This is achieved both prior to the construction process by a reduction in pollution during the production of materials (e.g. cement) and also in service, through efficient use of energy due to advancements in insulation. These and many other effects of nanotechnology on the industry are discussed in the report together with comments from researchers and industry professionals.

Two nano-sized particles that stand out in their application to construction materials are titanium dioxide (TiO2) and carbon nanotubes (CNT’s). The former is being used for its ability to break down dirt or pollution and then allow it to be washed off by rain water on everything from concrete to glass and the latter is being used to strengthen and monitor concrete. CNT’s though, have many more properties, apart from exceptional strength, that are being researched in computing, aerospace and other areas and the construction industry will benefit directly or indirectly from those advancements as well.

Cost and the relatively small number of practical applications, for now, hold back much of the prospects for nanotechnology. However, construction also tends to be a fragmented, low research oriented and conservative endeavour and this plays against its adoption of new technologies, especially ones that appear so far removed from its core business. Materials though, as mentioned above, are construction’s core business and the prospects for more changes are significant in the not too distant future, in fact, the researchers surveyed predicted that many advances would arrive within five years. The sheer size and scope of the construction industry means that the accompanying economic impact will be huge.

In order to capitalize on the effects of nanotechnology on the business, however, much more funding for construction related research, increased interdisciplinary working between researchers and communication between those researchers and industry is needed. If nothing else, changes outside the immediate scope of construction (e.g. demographic or environmental) will drive the need for innovation in the industry and if construction continues to ignore nanotechnology it will be the one left paying a fortune for a last minute ticket it could have had for a song if it had acted earlier.

Mark Morrison | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nanoforum.org

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Heating quantum matter: A novel view on topology
22.08.2017 | Université libre de Bruxelles

nachricht Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form
18.08.2017 | Cornell University

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>