Research in environmental technologies sometimes means thinking outside the box and focusing on productive nanotechnologies and smart materials that will change the foundation of science. Nanotechnology, for example, could help us throw light on the connection between physical behavior of heat, light and sound and thus how the human body responds to these dynamic properties.
So What Is Nanotechnology?
Included in nano-scale science, engineering and technology, nanotechnology entails imaging, measuring, modelling and manipulating matter at tandem scale. To get an idea of the intensity of the scale, approximately 100,000 nanometers in density is a sheet of paper; one gold atom has the width of one-third of a nanometer – we are talking less that one-hundred thousandth the width of a human hair! Bulk materials and single atoms or molecules probably do not have synonymous properties as nanoparticles to work on this scale.
A “Self-Healing” Home or Networking Sensors
Nanotechnology will be utilized to resolve a problem in the construction of homes: separation in the surface of the wall or cracks that lower the integrity of the home, specifically in areas globally where homes are constructed with concrete. A project, called “Intelligent Safe and Secure Buildings” may define how nano-technology is included in the make-up of materials.
The complex villa will be created to withstand earthquakes by self-healing or repairing cracks in its partition. Pressure from the house enables the nanoparticles to change into liquid state, then harden once again, sealing the hole. The vibrations that occur during earthquakes can be monitored by a network of intelligent sensors, causing the home to gather data for extensive time frames.
The network is wireless. What is being monitored and recorded? Vibration, stress, temperature, humidity and gas levels. This network of sensors could also help hasten the occupant’s exit if an earthquake was actually going to occur to give them time to escape.
Professor Terry Wilkins, chief executive of Leeds’ Nano Manufacturing Institute (NMI) also explained that for “a home that was wired with the sensors and ends up being wrecked or destroyed, the data in the sensors will give the precise fault area which will enable better materials to be constructed in the future.”
Morphing the Inherent Property
Smart materials are an extreme departure from the materials normally used for building. Smart materials are not static; they are dynamic, so exposure to an energy field will result in some type of physical behavior relating to light, heat and sound. Researchers are achieving ground with smart materials. Being able to manage this material in the realm of having it do what they like it to is significant. Therefore, comprehending the properties and interactions of the material on its surrounding environment is an important aspect of the research being performed.
A prominent part of the research is regulating the building materials’ surface state directly. Shape memory materials are being examined to determine their use to regulate acoustic surfaces.
Off the Grid – Alternative Energy Technology
As an energy source, nanotechnology is being used in common sense ways, fresh from the research labs. One way, by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s scientists, through a reaction that may be able to someday power electronics. Tiny wires, called carbon nanotubes are used to make a potent wave of energy. This energy is so small, you must use a microscope to visualize it. Researchers are working to improve the outgrowth of the wave of energy, using it to develop a smaller, environmentally friendly battery.
Research labs, learning institutes and governmental agencies are all rethinking and questioning the inner workings of what we assume as the connection between physical behavior of heat, light and sound and how the human body responds to these dynamic properties.