Home  >>  Write  >>  Technology  >>  Nanotechnology  >>  Applications  >>  New Materials


New Materials

Nanotechnology could one day yield materials with miraculous properties.  Superconductive wires, unbreakable composites, and wear-resistant coatings are all in the works as we speak.

While it's solely my opinion, materials to me don't represent the full capabilities of modern nanotechnology.  In most instances, they take something old and augment it with something new.  Don't get me wrong, because such inventions have proven extremely useful.  However, when I think of nanotechnology, the first thing that comes to mind isn't a pant that can resist stains better.

For better or for worse, the first applications of nanotechnology will be in the form of new materials.  My biggest worry is that people will dismiss nanotechnology as benign due to the recent slew of consumer goods touting the word 'nano' somewhere in its description.  By and large, a nano-pant is not really an application of nanotechnology or a new material.  It's just a pair of pants, albeit with a special coating.

Even the new metals that have recently come out featuring nanocrystalline grain sizes are just an extension of regular microscopic metallurgical research.  No major innovations were made to accomplish it, and they've been around since the early 90's.  Nanocrystalline metals offer hope of ultra-thin armor and coatings that are impervious to normal wear and tear. 

One possibility that I'd admit under the realm of real nanotechnology is a carbon nanotube composite.  Nanotubes are proven to have amazing physical characteristics that put it in its own class beyond construction grade steel and current carbon-fiber composites.  Unfortunately, no one has been able to create a matrix of nanotubes that can share the characteristics of a single nanotube.  It's not that far off, but it will definitely take some innovation to build a large sheet of material based on tubes that are only several nanometers in diameter.

As far as armor, wear resistance, and water-resistance goes, nanotechnology can only take things so far.  You can't expect things to be 100% impervious to destructive and corrosive environments.  The most we can hope for in terms of nanotechnology applications to new materials are things that last longer, perform better, and are generally improved versions of their non-nanotechnology counterparts.