Nanotechnology makes big inroads into construction industry

June 15, 2011

which deals with objects so tiny that thousands would fit inside the period at the end of this sentence — is having a big impact in the construction industry, according to the cover story in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the American Chemical Society's weekly newsmagazine. Indeed, some experts believe that nanotechnology will revolutionize the industry, which builds, renovates, and repairs society's infrastructure.

In the article C&EN senior editor Bethany Halford describes nanotechnology's surprising and largely unrecognized contributions to some of humanity's biggest and most visible projects. Nano-sized particles of the white pigment titanium dioxide, for instance, are giving the surfaces of buildings, windows, and other objects self-cleaning surfaces that stay bright white or crystal clear for years, shrugging off airborne soot, dust and grime. When titanium dioxide absorbs ultraviolet light from the sun, it breaks down pollutants that come in contact with concrete or glass.

Hollow cylinders of carbon called carbon nanotubes, so small that they can't even been seen under a regular microscope, are boosting the strength of reinforced concrete, one of the most ubiquitous construction materials. also is helping to make concrete a more sustainable, allowing the recycling of more fly ash, a waste product of coal-fired electric power plants, into fresh concrete used in new construction.

Explore further: Working on the railroad? Using concrete could help environment

More information: "Building Small" pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/89/8924cover.html

Related Stories

How Solid Is Concrete's Carbon Footprint?

May 18, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Many scientists currently think at least 5 percent of humanity's carbon footprint comes from the concrete industry, both from energy use and the carbon dioxide (CO2) byproduct from the production of cement, ...

Nanomaterials poised for big impact in construction

July 29, 2010

Nanomaterials are poised for widespread use in the construction industry, where they can offer significant advantages for a variety of applications ranging from making more durable concrete to self-cleaning windows. But widespread ...

'Green' concrete on display at Detroit Science Center

September 28, 2010

Geopolymer concrete, an innovative and environmentally-friendly building material developed at Louisiana Tech University's Trenchless Technology Center (TTC), will be featured in a transportation exhibition taking place at ...

Recommended for you

Graphene under pressure

August 25, 2016

Small balloons made from one-atom-thick material graphene can withstand enormous pressures, much higher than those at the bottom of the deepest ocean, scientists at the University of Manchester report.

Designing ultrasound tools with Lego-like proteins

August 25, 2016

Ultrasound imaging is used around the world to help visualize developing babies and diagnose disease. Sound waves bounce off the tissues, revealing their different densities and shapes. The next step in ultrasound technology ...

Nanovesicles in predictable shapes

August 25, 2016

Beads, disks, bowls and rods: scientists at Radboud University have demonstrated the first methodological approach to control the shapes of nanovesicles. This opens doors for the use of nanovesicles in biomedical applications, ...

'Artificial atom' created in graphene

August 22, 2016

In a tiny quantum prison, electrons behave quite differently as compared to their counterparts in free space. They can only occupy discrete energy levels, much like the electrons in an atom - for this reason, such electron ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.