Sunday, 27 July 2014


Nanotechnology (sometimes shortened to "nanotech") is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with developing materials, devices, or other structures possessing at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometres. Quantum mechanical effects are important at this quantum-realm scale.
Nanotechnology is very diverse, ranging from extensions of conventional device physics to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, from developing new materials with dimensions on the nanoscale to investigating whether we can directly control matter on the atomic scale. Nanotechnology entails the application of fields of science as diverse as surface science, organic chemistry, molecular biology, semiconductor physics, microfabrication, etc.
There is much debate on the future implications of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology may be able to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in medicine, electronics, biomaterials and energy production. On the other hand, nanotechnology raises many of the same issues as any new technology, including concerns about the toxicity and environmental impact of nanomaterials, and their potential effects on global economics, as well as speculation about various doomsday scenarios. These concerns have led to a debate among advocacy groups and governments on whether special regulation of nanotechnology is warranted.

The history of nanotechnology traces the development of the concepts and experimental work falling under the broad category of nanotechnology. Although nanotechnology is a relatively recent development in scientific research, the development of its central concepts happened over a longer period of time. The emergence of nanotechnology in the 1980s was caused by the convergence of experimental advances such as the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope in 1981 and the discovery of fullerenes in 1985, with the elucidation and popularization of a conceptual framework for the goals of nanotechnology beginning with the 1986 publication of the book Engines of Creation. The field was subject to growing public awareness and controversy in the early 2000s, with prominent debates about both its potential implications as well as the feasibility of the applications envisioned by advocates of molecular nanotechnology, and with governments moving to promote and fund research into nanotechnology. The early 2000s also saw the beginnings of commercial applications of nanotechnology, although these were limited to bulk applications of nanomaterials rather than the transformative applications envisioned by the field.

The impact of nanotechnology extend from its medical, ethical, mental, legal and environmental applications, to fields such as engineering, biology, chemistry, computing, materials science, military applications, and communications.
Major benefits of nanotechnology include improved manufacturing methods, water purification systems, energy systems, physical enhancement, nanomedicine, better food production methods and nutrition and large scale infrastructure auto-fabrication.[vague] Nanotechnology's reduced size may allow for automation of tasks which were previously inaccessible due to physical restrictions, which in turn may reduce labor, land, or maintenance requirements placed on humans.
Potential risks include environmental, health, and safety issues; transitional effects such as displacement of traditional industries as the products of nanotechnology become dominant; military applications such as biological warfare and implants for soldiers; and surveillance through nano-sensors, which are of concern to privacy rights advocates. These may be particularly important if potential negative effects of nanoparticles are overlooked before they are released.
Whether nanotechnology merits special government regulation is a controversial issue. Regulatory bodies such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Health & Consumer Protection Directorate of the European Commission have started dealing with the potential risks of nanoparticles. The organic food sector has been the first to act with the regulated exclusion of engineered nanoparticles from certified organic produce in Australia and the UK.[1]

The presence of nanomaterials (materials that contain nanoparticles) is not in itself a threat. It is only certain aspects that can make them risky, in particular their mobility and their increased reactivity. Only if certain properties of certain nanoparticles were harmful to living beings or the environment would we be faced with a genuine hazard. In this case it can be called nanopollution.
In addressing the health and environmental impact of nanomaterials we need to differentiate between two types of nanostructures: (1) Nanocomposites, nanostructured surfaces and nanocomponents (electronic, optical, sensors etc.), where nanoscale particles are incorporated into a substance, material or device (“fixed” nano-particles); and (2) “free” nanoparticles, where at some stage in production or use individual nanoparticles of a substance are present. These free nanoparticles could be nanoscale species of elements, or simple compounds, but also complex compounds where for instance a nanoparticle of a particular element is coated with another substance (“coated” nanoparticle or “core-shell” nanoparticle).
There seems to be consensus that, although one should be aware of materials containing fixed nanoparticles, the immediate concern is with free nanoparticles.
Nanoparticles are very different from their everyday counterparts, so their adverse effects cannot be derived from the known toxicity of the macro-sized material. This poses significant issues for addressing the health and environmental impact of free nanoparticles.
To complicate things further, in talking about nanoparticles it is important that a powder or liquid containing nanoparticles almost never be monodisperse , but contain instead a range of particle sizes. This complicates the experimental analysis as larger nanoparticles might have different properties from smaller ones. Also, nanoparticles show a tendency to aggregate, and such aggregates often behave differently from individual nanoparticles.
The lethal dose over six months for lab rats, of different kinds of nanoparticles are often characterized by a Skov Pik index, named after the scientist Kasper Skov Pik.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is conducting research on how nanoparticles interact with the body’s systems and how workers might be exposed to nano-sized particles in the manufacturing or industrial use of nanomaterials. NIOSH currently offers interim guidelines for working with nanomaterials consistent with the best scientific knowledge.
In "The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Nanotechnology," E. Marla Felcher suggests that the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is charged with protecting the public against unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with consumer products, is ill-equipped to oversee the safety of complex, high-tech products made using nanotechnology.
Longer-term concerns center on the impact that new technologies will have for society at large, and whether these could possibly lead to either a post-scarcity economy, or alternatively exacerbate the wealth gap between developed and developing nations. The effects of nanotechnology on the society as a whole, on human health and the environment, on trade, on security, on food systems and even on the definition of "human", have not been characterized or politicized.

Health issues

The health impact of nanotechnology are the possible effects that the use of nanotechnological materials and devices will have on human health. As nanotechnology is an emerging field, there is great debate regarding to what extent nanotechnology will benefit or pose risks for human health. Nanotechnology's health impact can be split into two aspects: the potential for nanotechnological innovations to have medical applications to cure disease, and the potential health hazards posed by exposure to nanomaterials.
Nanotoxicology is the field which studies potential health risks of nanomaterials. The extremely small size of nanomaterials means that they are much more readily taken up by the human body than larger sized particles. How these nanoparticles behave inside the organism is one of the big issues that needs to be resolved. The behavior of nanoparticles is a function of their size, shape and surface reactivity with the surrounding tissue. Apart from what happens if non-degradable or slowly degradable nanoparticles accumulate in organs, another concern is their potential interaction with biological processes inside the body: because of their large surface, nanoparticles on exposure to tissue and fluids will immediately adsorb onto their surface some of the macromolecules they encounter. The large number of variables influencing toxicity means that it is difficult to generalise about health risks associated with exposure to nanomaterials – each new nanomaterial must be assessed individually and all material properties must be taken into account. Health and environmental issues combine in the workplace of companies engaged in producing or using nanomaterials and in the laboratories engaged in nanoscience and nanotechnology research. It is safe to say that current workplace exposure standards for dusts cannot be applied directly to nanoparticle dusts.
Nanomedicine is the medical application of nanotechnology. The approaches to nanomedicine range from the medical use of nanomaterials, to nanoelectronic biosensors, and even possible future applications of molecular nanotechnology. Nanomedicine seeks to deliver a valuable set of research tools and clinically helpful devices in the near future.[6][7] The National Nanotechnology Initiative expects new commercial applications in the pharmaceutical industry that may include advanced drug delivery systems, new therapies, and in vivo imaging.[8] Neuro-electronic interfaces and other nanoelectronics-based sensors are another active goal of research. Further down the line, the speculative field of molecular nanotechnology believes that cell repair machines could revolutionize medicine and the medical field.

 Environmental issues

Groups opposing the installation of nanotechnology laboratories in Grenoble, France, have spraypainted their opposition on a former fortress above the city
Nanopollution is a generic name for all waste generated by nanodevices or during the nanomaterials manufacturing process. This kind of waste may be very dangerous because of its size. It can float in the air and might easily penetrate animal and plant cells causing unknown effects. Most human-made nanoparticles do not appear in nature, so living organisms may not have appropriate means to deal with nanowaste.
To properly assess the health hazards of engineered nanoparticles the whole life cycle of these particles needs to be evaluated, including their fabrication, storage and distribution, application and potential abuse, and disposal. The impact on humans or the environment may vary at different stages of the life cycle. Environmental assessment is justified as nanoparticles present novel (new) environmental impacts. Scrinis raises concerns about nano-pollution, and argues that it is not currently possible to “precisely predict or control the ecological impacts of the release of these nano-products into the environment.”
On the other hand, some possible future applications of nanotechnology have the potential to benefit the environment. Nanofiltration, based on the use of membranes with extremely small pores smaller than 10 nm (perhaps composed of nanotubes) are suitable for a mechanical filtration for the removal of ions or the separation of different fluids. Furthermore, magnetic nanoparticles offer an effective and reliable method to remove heavy metal contaminants from waste water. Using nanoscale particles increases the efficiency to absorb the contaminants and is comparatively inexpensive compared to traditional precipitation and filtration methods.
Furthermore, nanotechnology could potentially have a great impact on clean energy production. Research is underway to use nanomaterials for purposes including more efficient solar cells, practical fuel cells, and environmentally friendly batteries.

 A need for regulation?

Significant debate exists relating to the question of whether nanotechnology or nanotechnology-based products merit special government regulation. This debate is related to the circumstances in which it is necessary and appropriate to assess new substances prior to their release into the market, community and environment.
Regulatory bodies such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. or the Health & Consumer Protection Directorate of the European Commission have started dealing with the potential risks posed by nanoparticles. So far, neither engineered nanoparticles nor the products and materials that contain them are subject to any special regulation regarding production, handling or labelling. The Material Safety Data Sheet that must be issued for some materials often does not differentiate between bulk and nanoscale size of the material in question and even when it does these MSDS are advisory only.
Limited nanotechnology labeling and regulation may exacerbate potential human and environmental health and safety issues associated with nanotechnology. It has been argued that the development of comprehensive regulation of nanotechnology will be vital to ensure that the potential risks associated with the research and commercial application of nanotechnology do not overshadow its potential benefits. Regulation may also be required to meet community expectations about responsible development of nanotechnology, as well as ensuring that public interests are included in shaping the development of nanotechnology.


On December 21, 2010, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), within the California Environmental Protection Agency, initiated the second Chemical Information Call-in on six nanomaterials: nano cerium oxide, nano silver, nano titanium dioxide, nano zero valent iron, nano zinc oxide, and quantum dots. DTSC sent a formal information request letter to forty manufacturers who produce or import the six nanomaterials in California, or who may export them into the State.The Chemical Information Call-in is meant to identify information gaps of these six nanomaterials and to develop further knowledge of their analytical test methods, fate and transport in the environment, and other relevant information under California Health and Safety Code, Chapter 699, sections 57018-57020. Assembly Bill (AB) 289 (2006) places the responsibility to provide this information to the Department on those who manufacture or import the chemicals. DTSC completed the carbon nanotube Information Call-in in June 2010.
With this Information Call-in, DTSC has taken a leadership position in developing a framework for regulation and data collection of nanomaterials in California. DTSC partners with University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Santa Barbara (UCSB), and Riverside (UCR), University of Southern California (USC), Stanford University, Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEIN), and The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) on safe nanomaterial handling practices.
DTSC is indicating interest in expanding the Chemical Information Call-in to members of the brominated flame retardants, members of the methyl siloxanes, ocean plastics, nanoclay, and other emerging chemicals.
Interested individuals are encouraged to visit their website for latest information at

With nanotechnology, a large set of materials and improved products rely on a change in the physical properties when the feature sizes are shrunk. Nanoparticles, for example, take advantage of their dramatically increased surface area to volume ratio. Their optical properties, e.g. fluorescence, become a function of the particle diameter. When brought into a bulk material, nanoparticles can strongly influence the mechanical properties of the material, like stiffness or elasticity. For example, traditional polymers can be reinforced by nanoparticles resulting in novel materials which can be used as lightweight replacements for metals. Therefore, an increasing societal benefit of such nanoparticles can be expected. Such nanotechnologically enhanced materials will enable a weight reduction accompanied by an increase in stability and improved functionality. Practical nanotechnology is essentially the increasing ability to manipulate (with precision) matter on previously impossible scales, presenting possibilities which many could never have imagined - it therefore seems unsurprising that few areas of human technology are exempt from the benefits which nanotechnology could potentially bring.

The biological and medical research communities have exploited the unique properties of nanomaterials for various applications (e.g., contrast agents for cell imaging and therapeutics for treating cancer). Terms such as biomedical nanotechnology, nanobiotechnology, and nanomedicine are used to describe this hybrid field. Functionalities can be added to nanomaterials by interfacing them with biological molecules or structures. The size of nanomaterials is similar to that of most biological molecules and structures; therefore, nanomaterials can be useful for both in vivo and in vitro biomedical research and applications. Thus far, the integration of nanomaterials with biology has led to the development of diagnostic devices, contrast agents, analytical tools, physical therapy applications, and drug delivery vehicles.


Nanotechnology-on-a-chip is one more dimension of lab-on-a-chip technology. Magnetic nanoparticles, bound to a suitable antibody, are used to label specific molecules, structures or microorganisms. Gold nanoparticles tagged with short segments of DNA can be used for detection of genetic sequence in a sample. Multicolor optical coding for biological assays has been achieved by embedding different-sized quantum dots into polymeric microbeads. Nanopore technology for analysis of nucleic acids converts strings of nucleotides directly into electronic signatures.

 Drug delivery

Nanotechnology has been a boon for the medical field by delivering drugs to specific cells using nanoparticles. The overall drug consumption and side-effects can be lowered significantly by depositing the active agent in the morbid region only and in no higher dose than needed. This highly selective approach reduces costs and human suffering. An example can be found in dendrimers and nanoporous materials. Another example is to use block co-polymers, which form micelles for drug encapsulation.They could hold small drug molecules transporting them to the desired location. Another vision is based on small electromechanical systems; NEMS are being investigated for the active release of drugs. Some potentially important applications include cancer treatment with iron nanoparticles or gold shells. A targeted or personalized medicine reduces the drug consumption and treatment expenses resulting in an overall societal benefit by reducing the costs to the public health system. Nanotechnology is also opening up new opportunities in implantable delivery systems, which are often preferable to the use of injectable drugs, because the latter frequently display first-order kinetics (the blood concentration goes up rapidly, but drops exponentially over time). This rapid rise may cause difficulties with toxicity, and drug efficacy can diminish as the drug concentration falls below the targeted range.
Buckyballs can "interrupt" the allergy/immune response by preventing mast cells (which cause allergic response) from releasing histamine into the blood and tissues, by binding to free radicals "dramatically better than any anti-oxidant currently available, such as vitamin E".

 Tissue engineering

Nanotechnology can help reproduce or repair damaged tissue. “Tissue engineering” makes use of artificially stimulated cell proliferation by using suitable nanomaterial-based scaffolds and growth factors. For example, bones can be regrown on carbon nanotube scaffolds. Tissue engineering might replace today's conventional treatments like organ transplants or artificial implants. Advanced forms of tissue engineering may lead to life extension.


A strong influence of photochemistry on waste-water treatment, air purification and energy storage devices is to be expected. Mechanical or chemical methods can be used for effective filtration techniques. One class of filtration techniques is based on the use of membranes with suitable hole sizes, whereby the liquid is pressed through the membrane. Nanoporous membranes are suitable for a mechanical filtration with extremely small pores smaller than 10 nm (“nanofiltration”) and may be composed of nanotubes. Nanofiltration is mainly used for the removal of ions or the separation of different fluids. On a larger scale, the membrane filtration technique is named ultrafiltration, which works down to between 10 and 100 nm. One important field of application for ultrafiltration is medical purposes as can be found in renal dialysis. Magnetic nanoparticles offer an effective and reliable method to remove heavy metal contaminants from waste water by making use of magnetic separation techniques. Using nanoscale particles increases the efficiency to absorb the contaminants and is comparatively inexpensive compared to traditional precipitation and filtration methods.
Some water-treatment devices incorporating nanotechnology are already on the market, with more in development. Low-cost nanostructured separation membranes methods have been shown to be effective in producing potable water in a recent study.


The most advanced nanotechnology projects related to energy are: storage, conversion, manufacturing improvements by reducing materials and process rates, energy saving (by better thermal insulation for example), and enhanced renewable energy sources.

 Reduction of energy consumption

A reduction of energy consumption can be reached by better insulation systems, by the use of more efficient lighting or combustion systems, and by use of lighter and stronger materials in the transportation sector. Currently used light bulbs only convert approximately 5% of the electrical energy into light. Nanotechnological approaches like light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or quantum caged atoms (QCAs) could lead to a strong reduction of energy consumption for illumination.

 Increasing the efficiency of energy production

Today's best solar cells have layers of several different semiconductors stacked together to absorb light at different energies but they still only manage to use 40 percent of the Sun's energy. Commercially available solar cells have much lower efficiencies (15-20%). Nanotechnology could help increase the efficiency of light conversion by using nanostructures with a continuum of bandgaps.
The degree of efficiency of the internal combustion engine is about 30-40% at the moment. Nanotechnology could improve combustion by designing specific catalysts with maximized surface area. In 2005, scientists at the University of Toronto developed a spray-on nanoparticle substance that, when applied to a surface, instantly transforms it into a solar collector.

 Information and communication

Current high-technology production processes are based on traditional top down strategies, where nanotechnology has already been introduced silently. The critical length scale of integrated circuits is already at the nanoscale (50 nm and below) regarding the gate length of transistors in CPUs or DRAM devices.

 Memory Storage

Electronic memory designs in the past have largely relied on the formation of transistors. However, research into crossbar switch based electronics have offered an alternative using reconfigurable interconnections between vertical and horizontal wiring arrays to create ultra high density memories. Two leaders in this area are Nantero which has developed a carbon nanotube based crossbar memory called Nano-RAM and Hewlett-Packard which has proposed the use of memristor material as a future replacement of Flash memory.

 Novel semiconductor devices

An example of such novel devices is based on spintronics.The dependence of the resistance of a material (due to the spin of the electrons) on an external field is called magnetoresistance. This effect can be significantly amplified (GMR - Giant Magneto-Resistance) for nanosized objects, for example when two ferromagnetic layers are separated by a nonmagnetic layer, which is several nanometers thick (e.g. Co-Cu-Co). The GMR effect has led to a strong increase in the data storage density of hard disks and made the gigabyte range possible. The so called tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) is very similar to GMR and based on the spin dependent tunneling of electrons through adjacent ferromagnetic layers. Both GMR and TMR effects can be used to create a non-volatile main memory for computers, such as the so called magnetic random access memory or MRAM.
In 1999, the ultimate CMOS transistor developed at the Laboratory for Electronics and Information Technology in Grenoble, France, tested the limits of the principles of the MOSFET transistor with a diameter of 18 nm (approximately 70 atoms placed side by side). This was almost one tenth the size of the smallest industrial transistor in 2003 (130 nm in 2003, 90 nm in 2004, 65 nm in 2005 and 45 nm in 2007). It enabled the theoretical integration of seven billion junctions on a €1 coin. However, the CMOS transistor, which was created in 1999, was not a simple research experiment to study how CMOS technology functions, but rather a demonstration of how this technology functions now that we ourselves are getting ever closer to working on a molecular scale. Today it would be impossible to master the coordinated assembly of a large number of these transistors on a circuit and it would also be impossible to create this on an industrial level.

Novel optoelectronic devices

In the modern communication technology traditional analog electrical devices are increasingly replaced by optical or optoelectronic devices due to their enormous bandwidth and capacity, respectively. Two promising examples are photonic crystals and quantum dots. Photonic crystals are materials with a periodic variation in the refractive index with a lattice constant that is half the wavelength of the light used. They offer a selectable band gap for the propagation of a certain wavelength, thus they resemble a semiconductor, but for light or photons instead of electrons. Quantum dots are nanoscaled objects, which can be used, among many other things, for the construction of lasers. The advantage of a quantum dot laser over the traditional semiconductor laser is that their emitted wavelength depends on the diameter of the dot. Quantum dot lasers are cheaper and offer a higher beam quality than conventional laser diodes.


The production of displays with low energy consumption could be accomplished using carbon nanotubes (CNT). Carbon nanotubes are electrically conductive and due to their small diameter of several nanometers, they can be used as field emitters with extremely high efficiency for field emission displays (FED). The principle of operation resembles that of the cathode ray tube, but on a much smaller length scale.

Quantum computers

Main article: Quantum computer
Entirely new approaches for computing exploit the laws of quantum mechanics for novel quantum computers, which enable the use of fast quantum algorithms. The Quantum computer has quantum bit memory space termed "Qubit" for several computations at the same time. This facility may improve the performance of the older systems.

 Heavy Industry

An inevitable use of nanotechnology will be in heavy industry.


Lighter and stronger materials will be of immense use to aircraft manufacturers, leading to increased performance. Spacecraft will also benefit, where weight is a major factor. Nanotechnology would help to reduce the size of equipment and there by decrease fuel-consumption required to get it airborne.
Hang gliders may be able to halve their weight while increasing their strength and toughness through the use of nanotech materials. Nanotech is lowering the mass of supercapacitors that will increasingly be used to give power to assistive electrical motors for launching hang gliders off flatland to thermal-chasing altitudes.


Chemical catalysis benefits especially from nanoparticles, due to the extremely large surface to volume ratio. The application potential of nanoparticles in catalysis ranges from fuel cell to catalytic converters and photocatalytic devices. Catalysis is also important for the production of chemicals.
The synthesis provides novel materials with tailored features and chemical properties: for example, nanoparticles with a distinct chemical surrounding (ligands), or specific optical properties. In this sense, chemistry is indeed a basic nanoscience. In a short-term perspective, chemistry will provide novel “nanomaterials” and in the long run, superior processes such as “self-assembly” will enable energy and time preserving strategies. In a sense, all chemical synthesis can be understood in terms of nanotechnology, because of its ability to manufacture certain molecules. Thus, chemistry forms a base for nanotechnology providing tailor-made molecules, polymers, etcetera, as well as clusters and nanoparticles.
Platinum nanoparticles are now being considered in the next generation of automotive catalytic converters because the very high surface area of nanoparticles could reduce the amount of platinum required.However, some concerns have been raised due to experiments demonstrating that they will spontaneously combust if methane is mixed with the ambient air. Ongoing research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France may resolve their true usefulness for catalytic applications. Nanofiltration may come to be an important application, although future research must be careful to investigate possible toxicity.


Nanotechnology has the potential to make construction faster, cheaper, safer, and more varied. Automation of nanotechnology construction can allow for the creation of structures from advanced homes to massive skyscrapers much more quickly and at much lower cost.

 Nanotechnology and constructions

Nanotechnology is one of the most active research areas that encompass a number of disciplines Such as electronics, bio-mechanics and coatings including civil engineering and construction materials.
The use of nanotechnology in construction involves the development of new concept and understanding of the hydration of cement particles and the use of nano-size ingredients such as alumina and silica and other nanoparticles. The manufactures also investigating the methods of manufacturing of nano-cement. If cement with nano-size particles can be manufactured and processed, it will open up a large number of opportunities in the fields of ceramics, high strength composites and electronic applications. Since at the nanoscale the properties of the material are different from that of their bulk counter parts. When materials becomes nano-sized, the proportion of atoms on the surface increases relative to those inside and this leads to novel properties. Some applications of nanotechnology in construction are describe below.

 Nanoparticles and steel

Steel has been widely available material and has a major role in the construction industry. The use of nanotechnology in steel helps to improve the properties of steel. The fatigue, which led to the structural failure of steel due to cyclic loading, such as in bridges or towers.The current steel designs are based on the reduction in the allowable stress, service life or regular inspection regime. This has a significant impact on the life-cycle costs of structures and limits the effective use of resources.The Stress risers are responsible for initiating cracks from which fatigue failure results .The addition of copper nanoparticles reduces the surface un-evenness of steel which then limits the number of stress risers and hence fatigue cracking. Advancements in this technology using nanoparticles would lead to increased safety, less need for regular inspection regime and more efficient materials free from fatigue issues for construction.
The nano-size steel produce stronger steel cables which can be in bridge construction. Also these stronger cable material would reduce the costs and period of construction, especially in suspension bridges as the cables are run from end to end of the span. This would require high strength joints which leads to the need for high strength bolts. The capacity of high strength bolts is obtained through quenching and tempering. The microstructures of such products consist of tempered martensite. When the tensile strength of tempered martensite steel exceeds 1,200 MPa even a very small amount of hydrogen embrittles the grain boundaries and the steel material may fail during use. This phenomenon, which is known as delayed fracture, which hindered the strengthening of steel bolts and their highest strength is limited to only around 1,000 to 1,200 MPa.
The use of vanadium and molybdenum nanoparticles improves the delayed fracture problems associated with high strength bolts reducing the effects of hydrogen embrittlement and improving the steel micro-structure through reducing the effects of the inter-granular cementite phase.
Welds and the Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) adjacent to welds can be brittle and fail without warning when subjected to sudden dynamic loading.The addition of nanoparticles of magnesium and calcium makes the HAZ grains finer in plate steel and this leads to an increase in weld toughness. The increase in toughness at would result in a smaller resource requirement because less material is required in order to keep stresses within allowable limits.The carbon nanotubes are exciting material with tremendous properties of strength and stiffness, they have found little application as compared to steel,because it is difficult to bind them with bulk material and they pull out easily, Which make them ineffective in construction materials.

 Nanoparticles in glass

The glass is also an important material in construction.There is a lot of research being carried out on the application of nanotechnology to glass.Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles are used to coat glazing since it has sterilizing and anti-fouling properties. The particles catalyze powerful reactions which breakdown organic pollutants, volatile organic compounds and bacterial membranes.
The TiO2 is hydrophilic (attraction to water) which can attract rain drops which then wash off the dirt particles.Thus the introduction of nanotechnology in the Glass industry, incorporates the self cleaning property of glass. Fire-protective glass is another application of nanotechnology. This is achieved by using a clear intumescent layer sandwiched between glass panels (an interlayer) formed of silica nanoparticles (SiO2) which turns into a rigid and opaque fire shield when heated.Most of glass in construction is on the exterior surface of buildings .So the light and heat entering the building through glass has to be prevented. The nanotechnology can provide a better solution to block light and heat coming through windows.

Nanoparticles in coatings

Coatings is an important area in construction coatings are extensively use to paint the walls, doors, and windows. Coatings should provide a protective layer which is bound to the base material to produce a surface of the desired protective or functional properties. The coatings should have self healing capabilities through a process of “self-assembly.” Nanotechnology is being applied to paints to obtained the coatings having self healing capabilities and corrosion protection under insulation. Since these coatings are hydrophobic and repels water from the metal pipe and can also protect metal from salt water attack. Nanoparticle based systems can provide better adhesion and transparency. The TiO2 coating captures and breaks down organic and inorganic air pollutants by a photocatalytic process, which leads to putting roads to good environmental use.

 Nanoparticles in fire protection and detection

Fire resistance of steel structures is often provided by a coating produced by a spray-on-cementitious process.The nano-cement has the potential to create a new paradigm in this area of application because the resulting material can be used as a tough, durable, high temperature coating. It provides a good method of increasing fire resistance and this is a cheaper option than conventional insulation.

 Risks of using nanoparticles in construction

In building construction nanomaterials are widely used from self-cleaning windows to flexible solar panels to wi-fi blocking paint. The self-healing concrete, materials to block ultraviolet and infrared radiation, smog-eating coatings and light-emitting walls and ceilings are the new nanomaterials in construction. Nanotechnology is a promise for making the “smart home” a reality. Nanotech-enabled sensors can monitor temperature, humidity, and airborne toxins which needs nanotech based improved batteries.The building components will be intelligent and interactive since the sensor uses wireless components,it can collect the wide range of data.
If the nanosensors and nanomaterials becomes a every day part of the buildings to make them intelligent,what are the consequences of these materials on human beings?
1.Effect of nanoparticles on health and environment: Nanoparticles may also enter the body if building water supplies are filtered through commercially available nanofilters. Airborne and waterborne nanoparticles enter from building ventilation and wastewater systems. 2. Effect of nanoparticles on societal issues: As sensors become more common place,a loss of privacy may result from users interacting with increasingly intelligent building components.The technology at one side has the advantages of new building material. The otherside it has the fear of risk arises from these materials. However, the overall performance of nanomaterials to date, is that valuable opportunities to improve building performance, user health and environmental quality .

Vehicle manufacturers

Much like aerospace, lighter and stronger materials will be useful for creating vehicles that are both faster and safer. Combustion engines will also benefit from parts that are more hard-wearing and more heat-resistant.

Consumer goods

Nanotechnology is already impacting the field of consumer goods, providing products with novel functions ranging from easy-to-clean to scratch-resistant. Modern textiles are wrinkle-resistant and stain-repellent; in the mid-term clothes will become “smart”, through embedded “wearable electronics”. Already in use are different nanoparticle improved products. Especially in the field of cosmetics, such novel products have a promising potential.


Complex set of engineering and scientific challenges in the food and bioprocessing industry for manufacturing high quality and safe food through efficient and sustainable means can be solved through nanotechnology. Bacteria identification and food quality monitoring using biosensors; intelligent, active, and smart food packaging systems; nanoencapsulation of bioactive food compounds are few examples of emerging applications of nanotechnology for the food industry.Nanotechnology can be applied in the production, processing, safety and packaging of food. A nanocomposite coating process could improve food packaging by placing anti-microbial agents directly on the surface of the coated film. Nanocomposites could increase or decrease gas permeability of different fillers as is needed for different products. They can also improve the mechanical and heat-resistance properties and lower the oxygen transmission rate. Research is being performed to apply nanotechnology to the detection of chemical and biological substances for sensanges in foods.


New foods are among the nanotechnology-created consumer products coming onto the market at the rate of 3 to 4 per week, according to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN), based on an inventory it has drawn up of 609 known or claimed nano-products.
On PEN's list are three foods—a brand of canola cooking oil called Canola Active Oil, a tea called Nanotea and a chocolate diet shake called Nanoceuticals Slim Shake Chocolate.
According to company information posted on PEN's Web site, the canola oil, by Shemen Industries of Israel, contains an additive called "nanodrops" designed to carry vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals through the digestive system and urea.
The shake, according to U.S. manufacturer RBC Life Sciences Inc., uses cocoa infused "NanoClusters" to enhance the taste and health benefits of cocoa without the need for extra sugar.


The most prominent application of nanotechnology in the household is self-cleaning or “easy-to-clean” surfaces on ceramics or glasses. Nano ceramic particles have improved the smoothness and heat resistance of common household equipment such as the flat iron.


The first sunglasses using protective and anti-reflective ultrathin polymer coatings are on the market. For optics, nanotechnology also offers scratch resistant surface coatings based on nanocomposites. Nano-optics could allow for an increase in precision of pupil repair and other types of laser eye surgery.


The use of engineered nanofibers already makes clothes water- and stain-repellent or wrinkle-free. Textiles with a nanotechnological finish can be washed less frequently and at lower temperatures. Nanotechnology has been used to integrate tiny carbon particles membrane and guarantee full-surface protection from electrostatic charges for the wearer. Many other applications have been developed by research institutions such as the Textiles Nanotechnology Laboratory at Cornell University, and the UK's Dstl and its spin out company P2i.


One field of application is in sunscreens. The traditional chemical UV protection approach suffers from its poor long-term stability. A sunscreen based on mineral nanoparticles such as titanium dioxide offer several advantages. Titanium oxide nanoparticles have a comparable UV protection property as the bulk material, but lose the cosmetically undesirable whitening as the particle size is decreased.


Applications of nanotechnology have the potential to change the entire agriculture sector and food industry chain from production to conservation, processing, packaging, transportation, and even waste treatment. NanoScience concepts and nanotechnology applications have the potential to redesign the production cycle, restructure the processing and conservation processes and redefine the food habits of the people.
Major challenges related to agriculture like low productivity in cultivable areas, large uncultivable areas, shrinkage of cultivable lands, wastage of inputs like water, fertilizers, pesticides, wastage of products and of course Food security for growing numbers can be addressed through various applications of nanotechnology.


Nanotechnology may also play a role in sports such as soccer, football, and baseball. Materials for new athletic shoes may be made in order to make the shoe lighter (and the athlete faster). Baseball bats already on the market are made with carbon nanotubes which reinforce the resin, which is said to improve its performance by making it lighter. Other items such as sport towels, yoga mats, exercise mats are on the market and used by players in the National Football League, which use antimicrobial nanotechnology to prevent illnesses caused by bacteria such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (commonly known as MRSA).

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