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What useful materials have resulted from nanomaterial resear
Transcript of What useful materials have resulted from nanomaterial resear
By Sushen Satturu
What is the current theory relating to this topic?
Many new nanomaterials have been created in the past few years. From them many new inventions and innovations were made, ranging from improving lithium ion batteries to nanoagents for medicinal purposes.
Nanomaterial are being tested to improve food packaging materials to greatly improve shelf life.
Bottles are being made with ‘nanocomposites’ that restrict CO2 escaping hence improving the shelf life of carbonated materials, without using more expensive materials such as heavy glass.
Silver nanoparticles are being embedded in food containers plastic to eradicate any bacteria from any previous food stored.
researchers are trying to implement silicon coated carbon nanotubes to extend the lifetime of lithium- ion batteries 10x the normal amount.
Nanotubes grown on graphene are used as electrodes that have a high surface area and very little electric resistance.
They are being used as catalysts in fuel cells replacing platinum, therefore significantly reducing price.
Nanofibers are being developed for several medicinal purposes such as capturing several individual cancer cells, where nanofibers are coated with antibodies that bind to cancer cells and to cure damaged joints they are used to stimulate cartilage.
However, they are not only used in medicine but are also used in other fields.
Scientists are developing lithium-sulfur batteries where the cathode contains sulfur with nanofibers encapsulate the sulfur. This battery can store up to ten times what a lithium-ion battery can hold.
How has our understanding of this topic changed overtime?
Nanotechnology is a very recent topic in terms of scientific research.
There are some pre modern examples such as the Lycurgus’s cup and stained glass windows,
However perhaps the first example of modern nanotechnology was Michael Faraday’s ruby gold demonstrating that the gold particles on the nanoscale reflect a different color of light because of their size.
ruby gold in the nanoscale
The field emission microscope and the semiconductor transistor are among the first time in history humans started harnessing the power of nanotech.
Some of the initial nanomaterials include quantum dots which had great electrical and optical properties, the buckminsterfullerene also known as “buckyball” and of course the carbon nanotube which had incredible strength and electrical and thermal conductivity.
First consumer products
Slowly as more research was conducted on this area the first consumer products were introduced during the early 2000s.
Many products such as nano silver socks that resist bacteria, faster recharging batteries, better sporting equipment (stiffer tennis racquets and baseball bats), improved monitor displays were introduced to the public just to name a few.
How does the topic impact on society?
Social/ political factors
Nanotechnology and nanomaterials present many positive benefits socially. Many new inventions and innovations of nano products such as mobile phones with faster processors, hydrophobic cloths etc. Many experts think that nanotechnology is going to improve many social fields such as “ healthcare, energy supply, communications and probably defense” and change many workplaces all around the world.
However, there are also negative impacts. In the process of research and development of these materials large amounts of energy is being consumed and some amount of waste is produced.
There are also possible military applications for this tech. Among many other possibilities such as soldier enhancements via bio-nanotechnology and soldier weapon disruption via molecular manufacturing
The recent development of nanotechnology raises many ethical problems. There are many potential dangers it can create. Miniature explosives and weapons and weapon distrupters can be developed for military purposes, out of control nanotechnologies such as the self replicating nano machines or the grey goo scenario could be made and nano recording (surveillance) devices can be created to invade other's privacy.
Nanotechnology/ nanomaterials have a sizeable effect on the environment as the cost of research, development and production is high in terms of money (economic), energy and waste.
One of the major concerns of nanomaterials is that during their transportation loose nanoparticles may be released and pollute water and air during production, or as a waste products.
Nano waste is a problem as since a lot of research into this field is fairly new we haven’t worked out how to dispose of the waste materials yet.
Many countries around the world have spent an incredible amount of funds. The US government has spent over $22 billion on nanotechnology and nano material research. Other countries such as The European Union(EU) spent $1.7 billion, Japan $950 million, China $430 million, Korea $310 million and Taiwan $110 million.