The Best Way to Describe Nanotechnology

"actually nanotechnology is nothing but astonishing small science - but with a twist..."

Nano materials took our technologies to a new level, opening up previously impossible options

Nano-science manipulate matter at the scale of atoms and molecules

“Nano” is a measurement – not an object. “Nanotechnology” speaks solely to scale. A “nanometre” (nm) equals one millionth of a millimetre. It takes ten atoms of hydrogen side-by-side to equal one nanometre. A DNA molecule is about 2.5 nm wide and red blood cell is in comparison a vast ±5,000 nm in diameter!

Nanotech’s “raw materials” are the chemical elements of the Periodic Table (which is the building blocks of everything), but with a very different set of properties.  Key to understanding the unique power and potential of nanotech is that, at the nano-scale (below about 100 nanometres), a material’s properties change dramatically – these changes are called “quantum effects.” With only a reduction in size and no change in substance, materials exhibit new properties such as changes in electrical conductivity, elasticity, strength, colour and greater reactivity – characteristics that the very same substances do not exhibit at the micro or macro scales.

NANO IN NATURE

Nanotechnology is only applying what it discovered in natural nanomaterials. Natural nanomaterials is materials that belong to the natural world (animal and mineral), without human modification or processing, and that have remarkable properties because of their inherent nanostructure. Nanoscience and special instrumentation has led to discoveries such as the water repelling structures on the Lotus Leaf, a gecko's ability to walk on glass, the UV protection in the edelweiss plant, antireflective eyes of moths, and the fact that milk is nano-protein particles suspended in water etc. 

Spider silk is 5 times stronger than steel of the same weight. This is strenght results from the nano molecular structures of the fibroin proteins.

This new discoveries turned the

impossible to possible

The interaction of light, water and other materials with natural nanostructures gives these natural materials some remarkable properties which can only be fully appreciated at the macro scale. These incredible properties of nature now discovered help nanoscientists to push the boundaries of technology. As scientists discover and understand more about our world at the nanoscale, they can apply that knowledge to develop amazing products and solutions based upon these fascinating nano-structures.

The picture to the left demonstrates the strentgh of spider web silk, which is 5 times stronger than steel of the same weight. This "super strong and flexible structure at the nano scale" can resist strong winds and high speed collisions.

picture of water falling on paper treated with nano particles

This is what makes this Nanotechnolgy Special

When we get down to these tiny nano sizes, many materials start to behave in different ways. They are sometimes much stronger, or conduct more electricity, opaque substances can become transparent, solids become liquids at room temperature or insulators can become conductors. 

There is still a lot to learn, but what we already know is

Properties vary but can include improvements such as:

• improved magnetic properties performance
• improved optical performance
• improved strenght/elasticity performance
• altered thermal conductivity
• manupilation of electrical conductivity or resistance
• absorbency requirements (open or closed)
• biotic and anti-biotic capibilities

01.

Wear and Scratch resistant hard coatings

Nano-altered ceramics, silica & graphine nano materials enables coatings that exhibit chip, scratch and spot resistant coatings, which can prevent wear.

02.

Water Repellent and anti-bacterial coatings

Combining the benefits of hydrophobicity and anti-bacterial materials in surface coatings, help prevents bacteria growth on wet/damp surfaces.

03.

ETC (Easy-to-Clean) or Self Cleaning Coatings

An interesting array of nano materials provides for a wide range of self cleaning or easier-to-clean options. Some prevents dirt to stick to the surface, and other "break up" dirt through chemical or light energy.

04.

Moisture and Corrosion Resistant coatings

Combining hydrophobic nano-materials with corrosion fighting and anti-oxidation nano chemicals provides for atomic level corrosion blocking coatings. Special cleaners and other properties can also be added.

EXAMPLES OF PROPERTY CHANGES IN COMMONLY KNOW MATERIALS

MATERIALAS WE KNOW ITNANOSCALE PROPERTIES
CopperOpaqueTransparent
PlatinumInertCatalytic
AlimuniumStableCombustable
GoldSolid at room
temperature
Fluid at room
temperature
SiliconInsulatorConductor
Zinc OxideScatters visisble
light
Does not scatter
visible light
BenzeneFluidExtremely hard solid

In the end it all comes to stronger, thinner, more resilient and more conductive materials…
At the nano level atoms leave the realm of classical physical properties behind, and venture into the world of quantum mechanics.
“Physical intuition fails miserably in the nanoworld . . . you see all kinds of unusual effects. For example, even our everyday electrons act unusual. At the nano level it’s like throwing a tennis ball at a garage door and having the ball pop out the other side.” (Mark Reed, nanoelectronics scientist at Yale University).

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