Smart Materials and Nanomachines Explained (Video)

Nanotechnology is allowing for the development of new materials that will revolutionize how buildings work. It is important for architects to understand some fundamentals about how nanotechnology can change materials and their behaviors. As smart materials gain greater ability to interact and change properties, it will be up to architects to design for their meaningful integration into our built environments.

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A nanometer is very small. It is 100,000 times thinner than a human hair. And yes, nanotechnology involves seeing and constructing things at this scale. Such a shift in size allows for greater control over nanomaterials – ultimately giving us flexibility to change a material’s behavior.

As we gain greater ability to customize nanomaterials and their unique behaviors, scientists are uncovering creative and unique ways to make such “new” materials work. This video does a good job of illustrating why such materials behave the way they do – where quantum confinement and surface area play major roles. I found it particularly interesting to know that the greater the surface area a material has, the more reactions you can have.

This video also does a good job in illustrating the concept behind nanomachines. Also built at the nanoscale, nanomachines are greatly inspired by nature. It is also nice to see the topic of nanoparticles covered in this video, as these can be a bit controversial. We wouldn’t want nanoparticles posing a risk to living systems — posing a threat to human health.

Overall, it still seems fairly optimistic as most scientists think that nanotechnology will unveil some much needed solutions to some of the biggest challenges of our time.


What do you think about nanotechnology? Have you heard of any interesting or unique applications for such new materials? What concerns do you have about advances involving nanotechnology? What problem would you like to see solved by nanotechnology?

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  1. [...] expect or rely upon building materials and assemblies to do, your architecture will gain an entire new array of functions and behaviors with which to uplift the way your occupants live, work and play. Often, architectural spaces today [...]

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