NANOSCIENCE refers to the study of materials that are 1-100 nanometres in size, which is roughly about the same size as some molecules.
NANOTECHNOLOGY is the science of building on a very tiny scale. It is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions between 1 – 100 nanometres.
Properties of Nanoparticles
Nanoparticles have different properties to larger particles of the same material. For example:
- Nanoparticle electrons can move through an insulating layer of atoms
- Nanoparticles are more sensitive to light, heat and magnetism
- Nanoparticles in sunscreens and cosmetics absorb and reflect the harmful ultraviolet rays in sunlight
- Nanoparticles can be added to glass to repel water and keep windows clean.
Many of these properties can be explained by the much larger surface area of the nanoparticles compared to their volume.
- SPORTS EQUIPMENT: Nanoparticles are added to materials to make them stronger whilst often being lighter. They have been used in tennis rackets, golf clubs and shoes
- CLOTHING: Silver nanoparticles have been added to socks. This stops them from absorbing the smell of sweaty feet as the nanoparticles have antibacterial properties.
Nanoparticles may have harmful effects on health including that they may be able to enter the brain from the bloodstream and cause harm. However there is a concern that products with nanoparticles are being introduced before these effects have been fully investigated.
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