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.

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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.

Not a cure for cancer

Researchers at the University of Delaware have been working on a pretty interesting project. Leukemia in children is 1/3 of all childhood cancers. There is a 90% survival rate of 5 years or longer today with those inflicted and receiving chemotherapy treatment. Those are pretty good odds but side-effects to the drugs cause long-term problems as well. Part of that reason is that the cancer drugs typically kill a lot of healthy cells in the way of killing the cancerous cells. Not a perfect scenario, but the best we have right now. What the University of Delaware folks have come up with is the use of nanotechnology in helping the cancer drugs get delivered to the cancerous cells and bypass the healthy ones. It’s not a cure for the cancer but it’s a way of minimizing the collateral damage that often associates itself with cancer treatments, especially with growing children. Let’s face it…cancer is bad enough but a child with cancer is as bad as it gets. Here is the entire article from the University of Delaware’s website : Leukemia Cancer Drug Carrier

Nanotechnology is developing and creating wonderful advances in all areas of science and commerce, but when it can help children as we hope this advancement can it makes it just a little bit special. Keep up the great work University of Delaware!