Nanotechnology in Construction

“By 2025, more than 50% of building materials are expected to contain nanomaterials,” said Bill Looney, environment director of multinational engineering firm AECOM, in the 2014 Blue Book Property and Construction Handbook.

What are nanomaterials? Nanomaterials containing particles that are 1-100 nanometers in size (keeping in mind that an inch contains 25.4 million nanometers). Most nanomaterials are created intentionally using, known as engineered nanomaterials (ENMs), rather than those naturally occurring, such as fine beach sand or viruses. Among the many different types of nanoparticles, titanium dioxide, carbon nanotubes, silica, copper, clay, and aluminum oxide are the most widely used nanoparticles in the construction sector.

To regulate nanomaterials in the construction industry or make sense of manufacturers’ nanomaterial-containing product information requires agreeing on what the reporting criteria is; however, currently labelling is often not required, and manufacturers may not report including nanomaterials in the product information or safety data sheet.

Concrete, glass, insulation, coatings, and special steels are the most widely available nanomaterial-enabled products currently being used in the construction industry. The precise nanomaterial used in each product, including the form and quantity involved can be difficult to identify. This makes assessing the risks difficult, which is problematic, as some nanomaterials are considered to be hazardous.

the human and environmental risks of nanomaterials in construction are not yet fully understood. However, the benefits of nanomaterial-containing products in construction are clearer. When used, nanomaterials in construction demonstrate some valuable properties.

· Lighter and more resistant concrete for highway construction

· Environmental paints that purify the air by absorbing greenhouse gases and producing oxygen

· Self-cleaning glass that repels water and dirt

· Thinner, lighter, and stronger insulation

· Surfaces that kill COVID-19 — and other viruses — on contact

Nanoparticles as an industry provide a new frontier of construction production and durability of the built environment, while also enabling technological, health, and environmental advancements. However, caution needs to be taken to ensure that research and monitoring is necessary concerning the health of workers and the public who are potentially exposed to these ENM products during construction and afterwards.

Nanoparticles, the quantities of nanoparticles released to the environment annually, pre-emptive technologies that reduce negative incidental nanoparticle production, and the effect of nanoparticles in biological systems.

Have you used ENM products on your projects? What were the pros and cons of selection and use? Add your comments below. #construction #sustainable #management #nanoparticles #ENM #nano #nanomaterials #nanotechnology

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