Industry Report:
Catalysts at the Nanoscale
From Nanotechnology and Society course, University of Wisconsin-Madison Student Report by Joshua Rolnitzky
During times of war, technology tends to develop at an accelerated pace. World War II was no exception. Using newly invented incendiary devices, Army Rangers from D company of the 2nd Battalion disabled five 155mm guns aimed at the US fleet off of Utah Beach during the invasion of Normandy. These thermite grenades silently fused the guns’ elevating and traversing mechanisms by burning at 3000°C. Now, over 60 years later, thermites are receiving a facelift with the help of nanotechnology. And while the military is keenly interested in nanotechnology, hundreds of other organizations are seeking various applications within the nascent field.
The exciting prospect of nanotechnology is its potential use in almost any conceivable domain. Every field from medicine and electronics to manufacturing and fashion stand to benefit from advances in nanotechnology. And while nano-scale technology is multifaceted in its application, the use of nanocrystals as catalysts is perhaps the most intriguing.
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