Aplicações de bens de consumo

Aplicações de bens de consumo

The products of nanotechnology continue to emerge from the science laboratory and move into the marketplace. Many solutions to engineering challenges have included the use of nanotechnology principles and these are used today in the design and manufacture of many commercial devices and systems. Areas affected by nanotechnology include medicine, environmental engineering, food production and processing, energy (storage, conversion, conservation), information and communication, and consumer products.

Applications of nanotechnology in medicine include the development of contrast agents for cell imaging.  These agents assist in visualization of cells and contribute to biomedical research and to medical diagnostics.  Nanotechnology has a role to play in drug delivery systems, and there are visions for the use of nanorobots to repair damage and detect abnormalities inside the human body.    

Nanotechnology is being used for creating textiles that resist staining and repel water. These textiles contain tiny nano-whiskers or fiber-like structures that are hydrophobic – they repel water and cause it to form droplets on the fabric surface. The droplets are larger than the spacing between whiskers and remain on top of the fabric allowing them to be easily shed or wiped away.

Nanotechnology has also been used to enhance textile properties and performance. Fabrics can be made to reduce static, release fragrances, provide antifungal and antimicrobial protection, wick moisture from the skin, and provide high visibility under low light conditions. Nanotechnology is being used for spinning stronger and lighter materials for diverse applications ranging from ballistic vests to tennis rackets.

catalytic converter is a device used in the exhaust system of an automobile to reduce the environmental toxicity of substances emitted by the internal combustion engine. The catalytic converter breaks down some emissions through a chemical reaction catalyzed by a precious metal. Often expensive noble metals such as platinum, palladium, or rhodium are used as the catalyst metal; cerium, iron, manganese and nickel are also used in some designs. Recently, nanoparticles of precious metals were integrated into catalytic converter designs.  They allow the use of much less material to provide the same surface area that was available through the previous use of bulk materials. This enhancement reduces the cost of catalytic converters and makes them more efficient. 

Nanotechnology has improved fresh water filtration through the use of Nanopores (small pores in an electrically insulating membrane that can be used as a single-molecule detector).  Nanopores have been developed that are so small that they can filter the smallest contaminant. Water purifications systems that use such pores often incorporate ultraviolet (UV) resistant materials so that the water passing through can be irradiated with UV light to destroy contaminants such as pesticides, solvents, and microbes.  Nanopores can be fabricated with great precision, allowing for effective filtration with minimal effect on the flow rate through the system. 

The contribution of nanotechnology to information and communication is in providing new methods for data storage, enabling the design of novel semiconductor and optoelectronic devices as well as integrated circuits. Nanotechnology is used in the design of displayshuman-computer interfaces including the development of new platforms for video games.

Rain droplets on a black waterproof fabric. Image credit: chabkc/bigstock.com

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