What is Nanotechnology?

by DebsWebs in What is Nanotechnology | 0 comments

Nanotechnology originates from the Greek word meaning “dwarf”.  A nanometer is one billionth (10-9) of a meter or about one hundred thousandth of the width of a human strand of hair! Although scientists have manipulated matter at the nanoscale for centuries, calling it physics or chemistry, it was not until a new generation of microscopes was invented by IBM Switzerland in the 1980s that the world of atoms and molecules could be visualized and managed.
nano tennis ball earth image

In simple terms, nanotechnology can be defined as “engineering at a very small scale”. Nanotechnology is being developed in many R&D facilities from medicine to manufacturing to computing and even textiles and cosmetics.  Nanotechnology, in one sense, is the natural continuation of the miniaturization revolution that we have witnessed over the last decade, where one millionth of a meter (10-6 m) tolerances (micro engineering) became commonplace in the automotive and aerospace industries enabling the construction of higher quality and safer vehicles and planes.

A nano coating is typically the result of an application where nano structures are used to build a consistent network of molecules on a surface. One example would be a chemical process where the surface can be designed to be hydrophobic or hydrophilic. The desired characteristic of this new surface makes it easy-to-clean. It maintains what is often referred to as the “lotus effect”.

Nowadays, the term nano is overused. It is very common to find products that add submicron particles and fillers, such as TiO2 or silica dust, to paint or coatings and call it a “nano” product. For example, to create the nano attributed hydrophobic effect, often a mechanical formation is used by creating a particle distribution on the surface that is bonded by minimally applying a binder additive.  To allow these particles to be effectively and evenly distributed, a quick evaporating carrier is used such as acetone or butyl acetate. This creates a coating that will not be able to sustain wear nor protect the substrate long term.

Our system uses active nano chemistry to manipulate substrates at an atomic level. Instead of building a coating with nanoscale particles, we chemically create molecules, with reactive precursors, which become integrated with the substrate.

In most oxidizing materials, such as metals, there are free ions to be found in all cavities, voids and on the surface on a microscopic level. These free ions often react with oxygen and hydrogen to form oxides that naturally absorb unwanted elements (chlorides, acids, dirt, etc.). These oxides, visible or not, generate a foothold for corrosive and erosive matter.

By allowing our chemical solution to wet the substrate completely and come in contact with these free ions, an existing substrate can become more complete. On the atomic level, a new material is grown, filling cavities and voids within the substrate all the way to the top. The free ions found in the substrate function as polar attractions and catalyst for the chemical solution. In other words, we start from within the substrate, forming an indestructible shield. As an added benefit, our chemistry can be manipulated to created new functionalities such as lower friction, harder surfaces, temperature resistance, etc.

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