Technology

What are nanomaterials?

Written by Adam Torkildson

Although they can’t agree on a clear description, scientists do believe that nanomaterials may be distinguished in part by their very small size, measured in nanometers. 100,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, a nanometer is one-millionth of a millimeter.

Nanomaterials, by definition, according to attonuclei.com, must have at least one dimension that is smaller than about 100 nanometers, however, nano-sized particles can occur in nature and may be made from a number of materials, including carbon or minerals like silver. The majority of nanoscale materials cannot be seen with the naked eye or even with standard laboratory microscopes.

Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs), or materials made at such a tiny scale, may have special optical, magnetic, electrical, and other characteristics. Electronics, medicine, and other disciplines stand to benefit greatly from these emerging features. For instance,

Pharmaceuticals that target certain bodily organs or cells, such as cancer cells, may be created using nanotechnology, increasing the efficacy of treatment.

Cement, fabric, and other materials may also be strengthened while remaining lightweight by the use of nanomaterials.

They may be employed in environmental remediation or clean-up to bond with and neutralize contaminants. Their size makes them very helpful in electronics.

Although engineered nanomaterials have many advantages, we know relatively little about how they could affect the environment and human health. Even well-known materials like silver, for instance, when reduced to nano size, may be dangerous.

Nanoparticles may enter a person’s body via the skin, ingestion, and inhalation. Fibrous nanoparticles composed of carbon have been shown to cause lung inflammation in a manner similar to that of asbestos.

Where can one find nanomaterials?

Some nanomaterials may be found in nature, such as lipids present in blood and body fat and blood-borne proteins that are vital for life. Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs), which are intended for application in several commercial materials, gadgets, and structures, are of great interest to scientists. Numerous everyday items, such as sunscreen, cosmetics, sports goods, apparel that resists stains, tires, and electronics, are already produced utilizing ENMs. Additionally, they work in environmental cleanup, medication administration, imaging, and medical diagnostics.

About the author

Adam Torkildson