Over the course of the next 50 years, nanotechnology is set to advance our world beyond recognition. It will make our current technologies seem primitive and clunky. Soon, we will begin to to see the effects of the first phase of this revolution.
First, what is nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology describes a wide variety of technologies and materials that share one thing in common: They are incredibly small in size, 10 thousand times too small to see. Typical nanostructures are the width of a strand of DNA (2 nanometers), 50 thousand times smaller than the width of a strand of hair. For the basics about nanotechnology, read our Nanotechnology Introduction Page.
Phase One: Passive Nanostructures
The first phase of this revolution is already being seen in society. Passive nanostructures are what we are now seeing; structures that are designed to do one specific task.
The most notorious of the phase 1 structures is a new material called Graphene. It is described as a wonder material that will be as revolutionary as plastics, with its creators winning a Nobel Prize. It is 1 atom thick, transparent, a superconductor, harder, more flexible, lighter, and 300x stronger than steel, it is recyclable, sustainably manufacturable, eco-friendly and cost effective in its use. Check out the video below for a display of graphene uses.
We also now have nanotech waterproofing entering the market, or popularly called “nanotech super-hyrdophobic coating” (more water repelling than glass); it repels liquids, it doesn’t even let liquid settle on its surface. The new Xperia Z phone is waterproofed like this, and so it doesn’t need the added bulk of the older waterproofed models. That’s because the nano coating is thousands of times thinner than a human hair, and it allows electrical current to pass through it with absolutely no interference. It is non-conductive (without direct connection) and so stops the electricity transferring through it, through the water, and causing a short circuit. Perfect. It bonds to solid surfaces at the molecular level, so it cannot just rub off or corrode. The nano coating is not just on the outside of the devices, it is on all the surfaces in the device. The waterproof nano-structures works because the particles are constructed in a whiskered sort of arrangement which acts to repel water, although feeling ultra smooth the touch.
And more: The coating can simply and quickly be coated onto all of your devices, and any other surfaces that would benefit. So you can send any device away to be waterproofed. Many companies are now offering this service, check out the website of one of the most popular here, Liquipel. Or you can buy the waterproofing and apply it to surfaces yourself. Check out the demonstration videos of this waterproofing below.
And the applications don’t stop there, check out other uses for the nanotech super-hyrdophobic coating in the viral video below, which racked up more than 5,000,000 views in just 6 months.
In the past few years we have begun to see the introduction of nano carbon tubes in water purification filters. These are allowing the water purification job of large expensive and labour intensive factories, to be done simply by one filter, which can even be carried and used by individuals, as seen in the picture to the left. The nano carbon tubes are so closely intertwined, with gaps of only 15 nanometers, that they prevent all pathogens from passing through. The smallest virus is 25nm. The best filters previously used had gaps of 200nm and so the purification process needed more stages to ensure all pathogens were killed. The amazing effects these new filters will have are obvious. The water problem, seen now in developing countries, will soon become a bad memory of the past. Check out the video below of the inventor of the Lifesaver bottle explaining his innovation.
Only the Beginning
Above is only 3 of the amazing innovations of the first stage of the Nanotechnology Revolution. Stay connected with our website to see news about many more innovations that are already in development.
Phase 2 of the Nanotechnology Revolution is also already in the research and development stage. Phase 2 will feature ‘Active Nanostructures’; ones which react with their environment to achieve certain tasks at the molecular level. Applications for this phase will, most excitingly, revolutionise health care. Examples include self-healing materials, targeted drugs and chemicals, sensors, and energy storage devices; they will sense and destroy cancer cells in our bodies. Just like phase 1 is already beginning to have its effects on the world, Phase 2 will begin to have its effects within 10 years time.
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