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Nanotechnology in Building and Construction


Nanotechnology in Building and Construction Dr. Joannie W. Chin Nanostructured Materials Gaining control of materials at the nanoscale brings different laws of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Nanotechnology in Building and Construction

Nanotechnology in Building and Construction
  • Dr. Joannie W. Chin

30,000 ft view
Nanostructured Materials
  • Gaining control of materials at the nanoscale
    brings different laws of physics into play.
  • Traditional materials show radically enhanced
    properties when engineered at the nanoscale.

Material Needs in Building and
  • Deterioration of the nations infrastructure
  • Cost of repairs is estimated to
    exceed 2 trillion (NRC, ASCE).
  • Housing is plagued with poor
    material quality and excessive
    fire losses that have led to

    premature failure and annual repair costs
    exceeding 60 billion.
  • Nanotechnology offers tremendous potential for
    improving building materials.

The construction industry was the only industry
to identify nanotechnology as a promising
emerging technology in the UK Delphi Survey in
the early 1990s However, construction has
lagged behind other industrial sectors, such as
automotive, chemicals, electronics and biotech
sectors, where nanotechnology RD has attracted
significant interest and investment from large
industrial corporations and venture
capitalists.   Application of Nanotechnology in
Construction, Materials and Structures, 37, 649
Nanomaterials in Construction
  • Strong industry interest in use of nanostructured
    materials to improve service life and
    flammability performance of building materials
  • Lack of measurement science capability to predict
    service life and flammability performance of
    nanostructured materials.
  • Measurement science research is critical to
    enable U.S. construction industry to innovate and
    respond to global competition and new
    environmental regulations

Cement and Concrete
  • Nano silica and clinker used to increase
    densification and hence mechanical properties and
    durability of cementitious materials.
  • Service life can be doubled through the use of
    nano-additive viscosity enhancers which reduce
    diffusion of harmful agents in concrete (patent
  • Photocatalytic TiO2 added to concrete to reduce
    carbon monoxide and NOx emissions on roadways.

Carbon Nanotubes
  • Heralded as one of the Top ten advances in
    materials science over the last 50 years,
    Materials Today, 2008.
  • Sales of carbon nanotubes projected to
  • exceed 2B, gt103 metric tons annually in the
    next 4 - 7 years.
  • Major use electronics and composites.

Carbon Nanotubes
  • Probes for microscopy and chemical imaging

Coatings - Organic
  • Projected to make up 73 of nanocomposites
    market by 2010 (Freedonia Group).
  • Thin film, clear nanocomposites for improved
    scratch and mar properties.
  • Antimicrobial, self-cleaning surfaces.
  • Smart coatings Sense pressure, impact, damage,
    chemicals, heat, light, etc.

Coatings - Inorganic
Self-cleaning glass Nano-TiO2 coated
transparent TiO2
conventional glass
self-cleaning glass
  • Predominant photovoltaic material is silicon, but
    an emerging technology involves the use of
    dye-sensitized nano-TiO2.
  • Large surface area of nano TiO2 greatly increases
    photovoltaic efficiency.
  • Also has potential for lower material and
    processing costs relative to conventional solar

Nanoadditive Fire Retardants
  • Use of nanoadditive fire retardants prompted by
    bans on halogenated flame retardants enacted in
    many states.
  • Polymer nanocomposites filled with clay, CNTs,
    etc., possess improved flammability resistance
    while maintaining or improving mechanical
  • Reduces heat release rate during fire event by
    formation of surface char which insulates
    underlying material.

Heat Flux
Heat Flux
Poor Dispersion
Good Dispersion
  • Techniques for dispersing nanofillers AND
    measuring degree of dispersion.
  • Measurement of adhesion and interfacial
  • Chemical and mechanical measurements at the
  • Prediction of nanocomposite properties and
    service life over a wide range of length scales.
  • Unknown health and environmental effects
    virgin, released material.

  • Concrete with 2x service life Dale Bentz,
  • Functionalized carbon nanotubes for
    nanocomposites and chemical probes Tinh
  • Nano fire retardants Jeff Gilman,
  • General inquiries Joannie Chin,, 301 975 6815
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