Next to biomedical and electronics industries, the construction industry is expected to be the most affected by nanotechnology according to a study in ACS (American Chemical Society) Nano (journal). From the news item on Azonano,
Pedro Alvarez and colleagues note that nanomaterials likely will have a greater impact on the construction industry than any other sector of the economy, except biomedical and electronics applications. Certain nanomaterials can improve the strength of concrete, serve as self-cleaning and self-sanitizing coatings, and provide many other construction benefits. Concerns exist, however, about the potential adverse health and environmental effects of construction nanomaterials.
The scientists analyzed more than 140 studies on the benefits and risks of nanomaterials. …
The article in ACS Nano is titled, “Nanomaterials in the Construction Industry: A Review of Their Applications and Environmental Health and Safety Considerations.”
Still on the construction theme but this time more focused on site remediation, here’s a story about sulfur-rich drywall which corrodes pipes and wiring while possibly causing respiratory illness. From the news item on Nanowerk,
A nanomaterial originally developed to fight toxic waste is now helping reduce debilitating fumes in homes with corrosive drywall.
Developed by Kenneth Klabunde of Kansas State University, and improved over three decades with support from the National Science Foundation, the FAST-ACT material has been a tool of first responders since 2003.
Now, NanoScale Corporation of Manhattan, Kansas–the company Klabunde co-founded to market the technology–has incorporated FAST-ACT into a cartridge that breaks down the corrosive drywall chemicals.
Homeowners have reported that the chemicals–particularly sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide–have caused respiratory illnesses, wiring corrosion and pipe damage in thousands of U.S. homes with sulfur-rich, imported drywall.
“It is devastating to see what has happened to so many homeowners because of the corrosive drywall problem, but I am glad the technology is available to help,” said Klabunde. “We’ve now adapted the technology we developed through years of research for FAST-ACT for new uses by homeowners, contractors and remediators.”
The company has already tested its new product and found that corrosion was reduced and odor levels dropped to almost imperceptible. There are plans to use the company’s technology in the Gulf Coast and elsewhere there are airborne toxic substances.
In Europe, Germany has plans to introduce new concrete paving slabs that reduce the quantity of nitrogen oxide in the air. From the news item on Nanowerk,
In Germany, ambient air quality is not always as good as it might be – data from the federal environment ministry makes this all too clear. In 2009, the amounts of toxic nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere exceeded the maximum permitted levels at no fewer than 55 percent of air monitoring stations in urban areas. The ministry reports that road traffic is one of the primary sources of these emissions.
In light of this fact, the Baroque city of Fulda is currently embarking on new ways to combat air pollution. Special paving slabs that will clean the air are to be laid the length of Petersberger Strasse, where recorded pollution levels topped the annual mean limit of 40 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) last year. These paving slabs are coated with titanium dioxide (TiO2), which converts harmful substances such as nitrogen oxides into nitrates. Titanium dioxide is a photocatalyst; it uses sunlight to accelerate a naturallyoccurring chemical reaction, the speed of which changes with exposure to light.
They’ve already had success with this approach in Italy but Germany has fewer hours of sunshine and lower intensities of light so the product had to be optimized and tested in Germany. Testing has shown that the effect for Germany’s optimized paving slabs does not wear off quickly (it was tested again at 14 months and 23 months). Finally, there don’t seem to be any environmentally unpleasant consequences. If you’re curious about the details, do click on the link.
One last item, this time it’s about a nano-enabled coating that’s a paint. An Israeli company has developed a paint for airplanes that can make them invisible to radar. From Dexter Johnson’s July 14, 2010 posting on Nanoclast,
No, we’re not talking about a Wonder Woman-type of invisible plane, but rather one that becomes very difficult to detect with radar.
The Israel-based Ynetnews is reporting that an Israeli company called Nanoflight has successfully run a test on dummy missiles that were painted with the nano-enabled coating and have shown that radar could not pick them up as missiles.
The YnetNews article rather brutally points out that painting an aircraft with this nanocoating is far cheaper than buying a $5 billion US-made stealth aircraft. Of course, it should also be noted that one sale of a $5 billion aircraft employs a large number of aeronautical engineers, and the high price tag also makes it far more difficult for others to purchase the technology and possess the ability to sneak up on an enemy as well.
You can read more and see a picture of Wonder Woman’s invisible plane by following the link to Dexter’s posting.