材料科学2013-09-05 2:58 AM

Nanotechnology innovations for the construction industry

A broad range of challenges faced by the construction industry, ranging from the performance of the materials to environmental and safety issues, relate to materials and their properties. Recent developments in various areas of nanotechnology show significant promise in addressing many of these challenges. Research and developments have demonstrated that the application of nanotechnology can improve the performance of traditional construction materials, such as concrete and steel. Noteworthy improvements in concrete strength, durability and sustainability are being achieved with considered use of metal/metal oxide nanoparticles and engineered nanoparticles (carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibres), and environment-responsive anticorrosion coatings formed using nanoencapsulation techniques are showing promise in laboratory settings. Developments in nanotechnology are also improving the accuracy and commercial viability of sensor-based structural health monitoring; a task rapidly gaining importance as the structures that comprise many countries’ most expensive investments near the end of their design life. As energy usage worldwide continues to grow, a focus on the potential for nanotechnology developments to reduce energy consumption has become evident. Research demonstrates that nanotechnology can contribute to novel cooling systems, and improve the functionality of solar cells and insulation. A range of nanomaterials are also being used to add new functionalities, such as self-cleaning properties, to traditional construction industry products, for example paint and cement. First generation products are available on the market and further advances are evident in the academic literature.

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