Trying Nano on For Size
One billionth of a meter? What good can come of something so small? The term nanotechnology involves any technology that pertains to small matter approximately 100 nm or smaller to be more exact, although no standard measurement has been technically delineated as such. The word can also be used to refer to the application of it: the study and building of devices on the nanometer scale, meaning built from single atoms and molecules. (To put a nanometer into a more fathomable context, the diameter of a DNA double helix is 2 nm.) Yet no matter how infinitesimally miniscule a nanoparticle may be, enough of them may add up to making a big impact on the product design and development community.
There are several different types of nanotechnologies currently (and viably) available, in development, or in the research and development phase that may be of present or future use to design engineers. These nanotechnologies may include fibers, powders, particulates, components, crystals, devices, etc. However, under the broad-brimmed hat of nanotechnology, you may also find nanomaterials. Nanomaterials can consist of, but aren’t limited to carbon, ceramics, ferrites, metals, minerals, polymers, semiconductors and silicates. What’s difficult about exploring the options of nanomaterials is we don’t necessarily have any limitations yet (and likewise for all nanotechnologies), so it may be difficult to decide in which applications nanomaterials make sense. But we do, in fact, have other useful data at our disposal. For example, in the transition from the macro to the micro, the physical properties of a material
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