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Thursday, 1 September 2011

Lots of Space Beneath – Nano Architecture

Many of us have heard the name: Nanotechnology… What is this Nano? Nanometer is a unit of measure that is one billionth of the meter. So this technology works with the very very small pieces of material. The concept of nanotechnology was first pronounced as a theory by Nobel winner physicist Richard Feyman. In his speech titled “There Is More Space Down At The Bottom” in 1959, he said there would be architectural projects so small that a human mind could hardly be able to imagine. The term “nanotechnology” was described by Professor Norio Taniguchi from Tokyo Science University in 1974 as such: “Nano technology in general is the process of an object’s separation from an atom or a molecule, combination, deformation or reinforcement thereof.”
A nano-machine
Today nanotechnology has long ago reached beyond the walls of the laboratories and has globally gained a financial dimension. In sites such as, it is aspiring to reach the youth, even kids. The technology that is ready to change our lives for good and upgrade our life standards promises so much more for the future that it is hard to imagine… Governments of countries who have realized this fact have already started working.
Nanotechnology has actually started changing our lives from years ago: Mobile phones and computers are gifts of nanotechnology to us…
There is a high potential for architectural and industrial design. For example buildings are the major contributors to global warming… Architects who have come to be familiar with nanotechnology use products and systems that are lighter but stronger, environmentally friendly and those that can clean both themselves and the air, and so can design more sustainable buildings.

There are universities, laboratories and companies that perform highly serious projects with massive budgets (and support the governments is on the rise) and every day we hear about new products and fields of use. For example, dyes that regulate room temperature and fix the comfort standards equally in the room or those that clean themselves with light; Nano covers that can be applied to all surfaces and do not stain water, dirt, moss, lime, bacteria or oil; light carbon nanotubes that are stronger than steel; sun panels that collect more energy, glasses that clean themselves, new production methods and others that are in the process of research…
In the future, steel or bricks will not be used in buildings. And this will provide many different design opportunities for the architects and designers. The conception and the practice of architecture will change. For example transparent carbon nanotubes that are 10 times lighter but 100 times stronger than steel will be used as column carriers. But of course, in order to realize this, architects need to be familiar with this new materials and practices. A beautiful example is already ready for us to see:
Carbon nano-tube
Carbon Tower is designed to be 40 storeys high...
The products of the Nano technological industrial revolution that is or will be used in architecture focus on energy saving, productivity and protection. These materials are either known before but will be optimized with the features of nanotechnology or materials that are completely brand new.
The most exciting ones among these are biomimetic nanomaterials, in other words solutions that are produced by studying and imitating the models in nature or being inspired by them: There are many products that have been produced after the feature of animals, plants or even organs and the way they function. Super glues (sticky fibers clams excrete), anti-reflecting products  (structure of a moth’s eye), synthetic membranes that productively clean the water (the way the kidneys work), products that figure out existing damage and repair themselves, objects that are sensitive to light or other external stimulus, flexible Nano composites (spider webs)…

Surely, new materials and fields of use will bring new forms and functions to designs and there will be new dimensions in human-structure-environment relations.

Hope to meet you all again in my coming post on nanotechnology that entails many departments in its body and its branches.
Gizem Büyüktürkoglu

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