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
SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute
New survey hints at exotic origin for the Cold Spot
26.04.2017 | Royal Astronomical Society
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy