Nanotechnology brings new benefits to all of us. From the clothes we wear to the medicine revitalising our bodies, nanotechnology has the capability to alter the world we live in, activated from the smallest of acorns.
To appreciate what is meant by the nanoscale, it’s best to describe it in comparison to something else. Nanotechnology covers the use of structures between 1 nanometre (nm) and 100 nanometres. Put that in perspective by thinking about the width of a single strand of human hair. You could fit around 80,000 nanometres into that. Or think of a table about a metre high. You’d have to put 1 billion nanometre particles on top of one another to reach the same height.
The practical applications of nanotechnology can be found in various industries. Imagine the possibilities of biocompatible and biodegradable silicon nanoparticles delivering drugs directly into diseased cells. They treat disease then dissolve harmlessly away into the human body. Treatment at the nanoscale can be the targeted and effective future of medicine.
We’re learning from nature, capturing energy in nanocrystals on the same scale that plants capture it in their chloroplasts. At the same time, nanotechnology can be used for energy storage, developing more effective storage solutions. Solar storage is one of the great conundrums of our time, but nanotechnology can be harnessed effectively to address those challenges.
Nanotechnology is also revolutionising the food production industry. By working at the nanoscale, food quality can be increased and contamination reduced. Every aspect of food production can be improved upon by working with nanotechnology in various ways. Packaging, bio-protection, nutrient delivery – the possibilities are limitless.
Whichever industry you work in, there are practical applications for nanotechnology. Some of these are already being utilised, some are still being developed. Research moves so quickly in nanotechnology. Nowhere is this more evident than in the use of nanocoating techniques in numerous ways.
Coating products to protect them is nothing new. Until the advent of nanotechnology, however, these coatings had a definite lifespan, requiring maintenance or outright replacement when they were worn out. Now nanocoatings have been proven as the optimal coating technique across a number of fields. They act more like another skin than a coating. While traditional coatings can hinder the initial product, nanocoatings don’t change the colour, texture, breathability or other surface characteristics of the product. They’re also incredibly durable.
Nanocoatings are an example of how nanotechnology can be used across industries. They can be applied to painted and mineral surfaces, glass, ceramics, metal, plastic, wood and textiles, offering incredible protective potential. They’re self-cleaning, resistant to corrosion and scratches, along with being water repellent and protective against UV rays. In essence, they are the future.
Nanotechnology is changing the way we see the world and the way we approach it. The potential that creates is truly amazing.