Great Nanotechnology Overview

Posted on September 4, 2006  Comments (1)

Reporting Risk Assessment of Nanotechnology: A reporter’s guide to sources and research issues (pdf) by Trudy E. Bell:

The article discusses how reporters should investigate the risks with nanotechnology, and in doing so provides a good introduction to concepts in nanotechnology:

If engineered nanomaterials have physical properties different from their bulk counterparts, might they also pose new risks to human health in their manufacture, use, and disposal?

As yet, no one knows. Current data basically suggest “it depends.” But researchers both in government and private
industry are keen to find out.

The potential for nanotechnology is amazing but as we have said before the risks presented by nanotechnology also need careful study.

At the nanoscale, fundamental mechanical, electronic, optical, chemical, biological, and other properties may differ significantly from properties of micrometer-sized particles or bulk materials.

One reason is surface area. Surface area counts because most chemical reactions involving solids happen at the surfaces, where chemical bonds are incomplete. The surface area of a cubic centimeter of a solid material is 6 square centimeters—about the same as one side of half a stick of gum. But the surface area of a cubic centimeter of 1-nm particles in an ultrafine powder is 6,000 square meters—literally a third larger than a football field.

One Response to “Great Nanotechnology Overview”

  1. CuriousCat: Strategic Research Plan for Nanotechnology
    December 16th, 2007 @ 12:09 pm

    Large report for the US Department of Energy on the future of Nanotechnology

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