International Year of Chemistry, 2011

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Nanotechnology for Schools and the General Public

Activity by Alan Smith   |   added on Aug 18, 2011   |   International Official_iyc_logo


Share this small 32-page booklet on the applications of nanotechnology.

Technologies seem to come along in waves. We have seen electronics leading on to all the devices we know today, and biotechnology has resulted in improvements in healthcare. Nanotechnology is in its infancy and is expected to have just as much impact over the next twenty years.

An interesting example, of nanotechnology in action, is the gecko. It can run upside down on the sealing all because of nanotechnology. It has nano-sized hairs on its toes which individually are attracted to the ceiling by a very small force, but when it has millions of these nano-hairs on each toe then it can hold on very well. In fact, if you tied a weight to the gecko, equivalent to its own body weight, then it would still be able to run along the ceiling really fast.

There are lots of examples of nanotechnology in nature, where creatures and plants have evolved over millions of years to make use of properties at the nano-scale in the most efficient manner. Scientists are now trying to copy applications that have evolved in nature, and this is known as ‘biomimetics’. These and other applications are now being used in everyday things that we come across all the time. Some of these are described in the enclosed 32-page booklet. (see link on the right to download the entire booklet)

Topics covered are a general description of what nanotechnology is, along with sections on transport, sports and leisure, home, healthcare, energy, environment, risks and benefits, and future directions. The booklet is well illustrated, and should appeal to a wide age range from schoolchildren to the general public.


One of the author, Alan Smith, has published numerous articles on the topic of nanotechnology, including ones on healthcare, sports and leisure, water, biomimetics, and new chemistry. Some of these references appeared in Chemistry International, including:
- Nanotechnology: An Answer to the World’s Water Crisis? Jul-Aug 2009
- Nanotechnology in Good Health? Jan-Feb 2009
- Nanotechnology—The New Chemistry, Nov-Dec 2007
- Nanotechnology: lessons from Mother Nature, Nov-Dev 2006
- Nanotechnology: Does It Have a Sporting Chance? Jan- Feb 2006


Have a good read and please email directly or give your comments below. Txs.

Topic: nanotechnology Audience: students, general public, educators, school children
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