Results for nanotechnology in architecture

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Can you imagine the building, that can clean itself and fight air pollution? Air pollution is now a major environmental issue around the world, especially in heavily populated developing countries. Burning of fossil fuels by transportation and factories contributes the major sources of air pollution, producing toxic pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons. In China, more than a million people are estimated to die, just from breathing dirty air each year. Fortunately researchers are working on redesigning building materials to make it possible for buildings to actually help reduce air pollution, by including an engineered nanomaterial in the cement. This materia, known as titanium dioxide, is made of tiny white particles, that are less than a hundred nanometers in diameter. After mixing them with the cement, they give the building a distinctive white color. When the sun shines, UV light activates the nanoparticles to produce powerful oxidants known as free radicals. These radicals can rapidly break down organic pollutants on the building's exterior into carbon dioxide and water, which are then released into the environment. This process is known as photocatalysis, and works without any energy source other than sunlight. The residual pollutants are washed away by rain, so the building's become nice and clean again. Buildings with this new material have been shown to improve air quality in Europe and Asia. In recent years, titanium dioxide nanoparticles have also been used in self cleaning windows, and work in a similar way to combat air pollution. The future of buildings will embrace more nanotechnologies. But are these nanoparticles safe for people's health, and the bigger environment? Please follow the next video on the environmental impacts of nanotechnology to find out. you

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[Music] >>Scientists use physical and chemical properties to describe and classify matter. Things like color, shape or texture can tell us about the matter and how that matter behaves. Well, nanotechnology isn't just exciting because it's small but also because of the new properties that emerge. This bottle contains gold nanoparticles. But it doesn't exactly look like the yellowish gold in your mom's jewelry box. The vibrant color is produced because of the way the nanoparticles interact with visible light. We can control the color produced if we change the size or shape of the gold nanoparticles. This is helpful when creating sensors, probes and it is even being used in cancer research. In the Middle Ages, artists created beautiful stained glass with gold without even knowing they were using nanotechnology. If you could control a material's physical and chemical properties, what would you create? >>Stronger than steel, more pliable than rubber and able to conduct electricity. This amazing nanomaterial is made entirely of carbon. It's graphene. [SFX and music] Possessing remarkable physical properties, graphene is a material of the future. >>Graphene has been called a wonder material. It's one of many nanomaterials that has extraordinary properties. >>Graphene is only one atom thick so it only absorbs 2% of light that passes through. This means it's almost completely invisible. With this kind of material, it's easy to imagine a flexible cell phone or wearable technologies. Graphene is such a new material that it wasn't even discovered until 2004 by some very curious scientists with pencils and scotch tape. >>So they put one piece of scotch tape on the graphite, peeled it off, then you had a little bit of the pencil lead on the tape. And then you take another piece of- literally scotch tape, I kid you not- and put on that peeled it off and they got another layer on both pieces. So, they kept doing that until you got down to the point where you had to look with a microscope and see what was left. And when they got down to the most reduced layer that essentially was graphene. >>See, the graphite in your pencil and graphene are both made entirely from carbon. They are allotropes, or different arrangements, of carbon atoms. Even the diamond in your aunt's wedding ring is an allotrope of carbon. But a diamond is clear. Graphite is black. A diamond is strong and graphite crumbles apart as your write. So what gives? The differences in the physical properties come from the arrangement of the atoms and the bonds between them. What other things can we create if we can control the structure of matter? >>Fullerene is an allotrope of carbon. If you think of a soccer ball that is made up of hexagons and pentagons, at each one of those intersections if you put a carbon atom then you would have a ball, a hollow sphere which we call a fullerene or a buckyball. And that would be a C60, so in that arrangement there would be 60 atoms and it would make up this hollow sphere, this ball. But there are other fullerenes of other sizes and other numbers of carbon. >>So, if graphene is so wonderful, why aren't we building everything out of it, like transparent computers? >>A nanomaterial isn't just a nanomaterial because it's small. It's a nanomaterial because we can manipulate it at the nanoscale, meaning that I can somehow control it with my tools or processes, in such a way that I can leverage a unique property. That's what makes a nanomaterial a nanomaterial. So it isn't just miniaturization, it's hard; it's really, really hard. >>Carbon nanotubes, another allotrope of carbon, are shaped like cylinders. Basically, they look like drinking straws on a nanoscale but they have extraordinary properties. In fact, some companies mix carbon nanotubes with other materials to make a composite that is lighter weight and stronger. Now imagine if you could use that to build an airplane! >>Everything that we make is dependent on materials when you think about it. The steel that we use on our ships, the aluminum that we use on airplanes, we're interested in strength, we're interested in stiffness, we're interested in a whole host of properties to make our products more effective. If you've ever seen a bridge being built, usually they have these metal bars inside the concrete, those are called reinforcement bars or rebar. At the atomic level carbon nanotubes are not much different. We take carbon nanotube rebar and we're mixing a composite around it and that's what provides the additional strength. The same way you'd want a bridge made of concrete to be absolutely solid when you're driving your cars and trucks over it. We want our composites absolutely solid for whatever structural purpose we're using it for. >>Carbon Nanotubes are also highly conductive. Conductivity is a physical property that measures how electricity flows through a material. What could you build if you had a material that offers lighting strike protection? [Sound of lightning strike and thunder] >>You can actually go to a lab and have them artificially generate lightening, which is pretty cool, 200,000 amps. That's a lot of power. So we put one panel with just the carbon fiber and epoxy and then we put one panel with carbon nanotubes embedded in the carbon fiber and epoxy. And so we struck them both five times in the same place. And so then the results were the panel that was not treated was clearly damaged, like dramatically damaged. And then the panel that was treated because it had the carbon nanotubes embedded in it, which are conductive it was able to disperse the energy of the lightning strike and protect the integrity of the material. So, which would you rather have on your airplane wing? >>New materials offer better properties but manufacturing can be challenging. >>And these tubes are the diameter of DNA but we make them at about the trillions per second and then we spin them and turn them into things that look like black thread. So, here's an example of what we're able to do, we're able to turn them into fiber and this fiber can be made into a rope. This is the only one ever made in the world right now. This actually has 1,000 pound breaking strength and we have another higher strength version that has 2,500 pound breaking strength. That's actually stronger than steel but you can't exactly do this with steel. This is electrically conductive. So here for the first time you're actually seeing this material and in a useful format, so you're taking the textile industry techniques of 100 years ago and applying them to a 21st Century molecule, carbon nanotubes. >>Okay, so it may be awhile longer before we see graphene and carbon nanotube factories in our neighborhoods, but scientists are still investigating new ways to create advanced nanomaterials. Imagine how much further the science could take us. >>Our specific material, it's actually a sheet material is being used on the Juno spacecraft. It's going to be a marvelous mission, I think we're going to be stunned by photos that are going to be taken by that satellite because they're almost going to fly it down to the cloud tops on Jupiter and then back out. So our materials are there to protect the critical altitude control thrusters, the engines and the main engine so that it will work. >>I deliberately call what we're in a Materials Revolution. Everything that we make, all our technologies are dependent on materials and our ability to leverage them. We're doing things now at the most fundamental level, controlling material properties. It's different than we've ever done before and that is going to change the kinds of things we can make and how we go about making them in the future. >>Our middle school students today will be the people who will take the nanotechnology way farther. They'll be the folks who will actually make this broadly used in everyday life, where we're just scratching the surface.

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As you come down the Ring Road I think you do see the particular identity of the nano component of the building with its molecular structure its exoskeleton and then the Institute For Quantum Computing which is more like a research institute. In real life you can see that although the building's work very well, I'll call them the buildings, the halves of the buildings work very well together, they're very clear identities and architecturally we always struggle with how you articulate an idea. So the idea of superposition, reflectivity, opacity almost contradicting itself. For us it was about other glass work ideas of reflectivity, transparency, translucency. It was kind of the 0 or the 1 are both simultaneously, it sort of changed, right and it reflected the sky in the world it. The windows can operate and so that it actually can beathe you see the building breathing and you can change its dynamic. I mean if there is a redeeming feature to the campus of Waterloo it's the series of courtyards. So this was an opportunity just to create courtyards within the larger system of courtyards. This building is very clearly positioned within the university campus, how successfully it remakes the rock garden which was never quite as well defined. We looked at every edge of the building to see how it would fit within the campus and then I think you have your own trajectory as a student or as a research person coming to work on a day-to-day basis.