Nanotechnology cuts down on contaminated products

Scientists have successfully used nanotechnology to create a contaminant-resistant surface for stainless steel, which they claim can increase production efficiency and productivity and safeguard food safety.

The article found here discusses that scientists have discovered by the use of nano materials coated on stainless steel during milk processing cuts down on product fouling, contamination, and even plant efficiency. Essentially, a safer, cleaner, better product. There is no reason this kind of technology breakthrough can’t be used in other food preparation areas. I’m sure the meat processing industries and vegetables processing are already investigating these ideas.

This is a short blog today but it’s interesting as it deals with our everyday lives and how behind the scenes things are improving to make our products fresher, and more importantly, safer for us and our families.

Liquid Metal…Not just for Science Anymore

Dr. Vijay Sivan of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering discovered a way to essentially wrap up metal with a type of insulation and create metal liquid marbles. OK, this isn’t meant to “improve upon” the age old game of marbles for kids but instead holds many different applications. Applications include extended antennas, stretchable, and reconfigurable wires. Imagine a wire being split…now you just attach it and it’s good as new. Electronics are the big industry this type of application/invention will probably hit a home run with but until then it’s quite fascinating what new applications this will be used for.

The entire article can be found here.

Everyday I read new and facsicnating articles and probably what’s even more incredible is that these technologies are usually hidden away where nobody really notices them. Sure, the engineers and the developers do, but not the typical person using the applications. When LED, LCD, (fill in the blank with the appropriate acronymn) come to market they talk about what it looks like and such but never what it really is. I have one of the first generations of HD TVs and the thing is huge. But I can’t tell you what technology it is using.  So the unsung heros developing these technologies probably know that they’ll never become a household name but it’s kind of a shame because these improvements/inventions really make a difference in peoples’ lives.

Batteries and Nanotechnology

I read an article on Nanotechnology dealing with batteries and how it may help to revolutionize the electric car industry. Right now, the biggest problems with electric cars, besides their cost, is that if you plan to go over 100 miles you probably aren’t driving it. The reason is…how are you going to get back???  The battery life is limited and so is the recharging capabilities. That’s where nanotechnology comes in. Researchers from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology’s Interdisciplinary School of Green Energy are focusing not on the improvement of battery life, but rather the recharging of them. Instead of hours to recharge an electric car they are experimenting with minutes. Yes, I said minutes.

But the core is still getting batteries to last a long time and have them mass produced. The nanotechnology is there to accomplish this but all of the associated costs to do this and environmental and safety tests are also an issue. Much like that of building a skyscraper, the higher you go up the more it costs. Safety, difficulty, and time all increase. Each step of improving the process for the battery life helps but also creates more questions.

The above being said, it appears the researchers are hitting the problem from both ends of the spectrum. One from the recharging aspect and one from the performance aspect. A car that can go 300 miles and charge quickly is going to be a hit.

So why did I call this topic Gold Rush? The popular TV show utilizes huge excavators, bull dozers, and other heavy machinery. The diesel fuel they use is insanely expensive. With the daylight hours long to gather solar power and the electric engines they use. Caterpillar has come out with their D7E which is kind of like a hybrid and can move 25% more earth than the non-hybrid counterpart. But battery storage capacity would go an increasingly long way. The guys on the show go through thousands of dollars in fuel per day running their machinery. I have to imagine the same it true across America and the world. If they can do that on heavy machinery then I can imagine the long haul truckers in the USA will soon be next. I just look forward to the day that this happens.

Nanobots and Nanotechnology

I just read an interesting article on the advancement of nanotechnology in computers from Scientific American where, unlike other technology that tries to make things smaller, nanotechnology has the power to build things up atom by atom. Here is that article. Creating nanobots that can do the work to assemble these tiny building blocks and help not only computing but in medicine to turn one material into another, become self-replicating, and then be injected into the human body at the cellular level to cure diseases. Simply amazing.

Here’s the Catch-22…what if these types of technologies are used for bad instead of for good? Nuclear energy is one instance where used for power is good, for war is bad. It’s that same scenario where it can do so much good for the world but perhaps it can also be pretty terrible. That being said, Alfred Nobel created dynamite and had thoughts of the terrible destruction it could produce. Regardless, it was better than nitroglycerin that preceded it and there were other solutions that came after that improved on it. In other words, it will always be “one upped” with something better/more powerful. Much like the advent of fire was brilliant, it also destroyed. Kerosene was the light provider at night but electricity replaced it, etc.  Thoughts?

New Year – New Posts

Hi everyone and Happy New Year! A new year means new posts and twists on similar and new topics. I’m encouraged by the advances we saw this last year and I’m sure this year will be no different. One very encouraging aspect for smaller and better things (that’s a nano joke) is that smaller universities or those universities not in the traditional limelight are starting to offer courses in nanotechnology or developing areas of study in the nano-sphere.  Everyone imagines the big universities to be on board with their billion dollar endowment funds but recently smaller universities have begun to do the same. Just awesome in my book. Oakton Community College in Skokie, Illinois just started hands-on nanotechnology courses this month. That’s just awesome. You can read the entire article here.

We look forward to great advances in nano technology, nano materials, and nano applications this year as well as sharing them with you!  Happy New Year!

Boring Industry – New Twist

I’m sorry for saying the Cement Industry is boring…but for me it is. Most industries are, unfortunately.  I’m not a Dallas Cowboy fan but would you rather talk to the CEO of the Cowboys, Jerry Jones, or the CEO of a Cement Company. I’m sure the CEO of the Cement Company would rather talk to Jerry Jones as well.  OK, I made my point. But reading an article this morning was kind of fascinating:

“Introduction of nanotechnology in cement industry has the potential to address some of the challenges such as CO2 emissions, poor crack resistance, long curing time, low tensile strength, high water absorption, low ductility and many other mechanical performances.” That was from an article found here.

The point being that you have an old, boring industry such as cement and new technology into the equation really changes the outcome. Less pollution and better product as well. Steel industry, bridge building, road construction, car manufacturing, etc. are all on the cusp of nanotechnology and already embracing it. The cool type of chassis in cars are the carbon fiber ones. Lighter and stronger than old steel ones. More expensive, yes. But with production improvements that will change as well given enough time and research. Next time you think of an old industry, think how it can be improved with nanotechnology.

Fishing for Circulating Cancer Cells

Nano-platforms are platforms comprised of nano-materials structured in a way to facilitate a desired function. In the case of the joint efforts of NIKEN Institute in Japan and UCLA they have developed a nano-platform that will capture circulating tumor cells and then release them at a lower temperature.  Circulating tumor cells are cells that are floating around in the blood have not colonized with other tumor cells in any vital organs. By releasing these cells they are able to study them further to get a better answer as to cancer development.

The case with the nano-platforms is that the platform is comprised of tiny nano-brushes that stick to the tumor cells at 37 degrees Celsius. But, at 4 degrees Celsius, they release them.

The entire article can be found here and is just another example of nano-technology’s impact on cancer treatments.

DNA Based Manufacturing Looks Promising

We’ve talked about DNA type printers and the progressive advancements of them and the amazing thing is that this type of project or vision is shared by many across the globe. A recent article I read HERE discusses the advancements of DNA based manufacturing in Germany and the UK working with 460,000 atom based structure with subnanometer precision.

The idea is to take a DNA structure and re-build it precisely like the original. Problem was durability, flexibility, and getting the DNA strands to come together consistently. The other aspect was it took weeks to develop the DNA structures.

What’s interesting about this is how to assemble these DNA structures with precision and accuracy on a repeatable process. What took weeks before now takes minutes. Being able to test something minutes later allows vast improvements over a shorter period of time with more tests and less resources needed. Whether it’s this technology or others for the same “end game” really doesn’t matter. What is important is that it is getting it done. There will always be improvements. An example is although Betamax was a better picture quality than VHS, VHS beat it out. Now Blu-ray is the best and even better than DVDs. The point is that improvements are made and what researchers are doing with DNA based manufacturing is simply amazing.

Asphaltene Problem?

Recently we’ve only talked about products and solutions in the nanotechnology space without talking about some of our own products. This is a blog to inform what’s going on around us but what’s going on inside our walls are equally interesting.

We have two refinery solvent solutions that dissolve asphaltene from pipes in the oil and gas industry. People in that industry know this problem all too well. There are some solutions for this problem already but, like anything, there is a cost to them. One is time, one is effectiveness, and one is a monetary cost. There is one more cost which is environmental. We have both a synthetic based solutions and organic solution for different types of problems on different types of materials. The early tests to eliminate asphaltene has been 4 to 5 times more effective than current solutions. Here is a link to the product page from our sister company, http://www.ssnano.com: http://ssnano.com/refinery_solvent

By using our solvent the asphaltene is eliminated quicker, less downtime, and is also cost effective for users especially if a shut-down is needed to handle the situation currently. Look for more information on this but I wanted to share this with our followers.

3D Printers are so “Old School”

Researchers have uncovered the first molecule by molecule printer. Yes, your old 3D printer you thought was so cool is now “not the new thing”.  The new thing is called the Parabon Essemblix Drug Development Platform, and it combines computer-aided design (CAD) software called inSçquio with nanoscale fabrication technology. The inSçquio software alloss scientists to design molecular pieces with specific, functional components. They can then optimized their designs using a cloud supercomputing platform called the Parabon Computation Grid that searches for sets of DNA sequences that can self-assemble its new components.

Here is the entire article which is truly fascinating.  My personal view on this is that you’ll be able to create medicine specifically for the individual and their DNA structure. I don’t know how the Xs and Os get set up for this but I’m sure this idea is implanted into the researchers behind the printer.