Nanotechnology in Building Materials

The construction industry has much to gain from nanotechnology. Solutions in the offing range from materials with better insulating properties, to solar cells that power your house more economically, and siding that is protected from the effects of weather. Nanotechnology applications in building materials include:

An insulating material called aerogel, composed of silica nanoparticles separated by nanopores, is mostly air, making it an excellent insulator. For example insulating the walls of your house would only need about one third the thickness if you used this material instead of conventional insulation.

Windows that hold heat in better. Much of the heat loss in buildings occurs through windows. Companies have developed windows with aerogel between the window panes. This can increase the insulating ability of the windows to almost that of a typical building wall.

For older buildings with single pane windows replacement window panes are under developement with aerogel within the window pane. This would allow the insulation of old single pane windows without the expense of tearing out the window frame.

Solar cells that can be installed as a coating on windows or other building materials, referred to as "Building Integrated Photovoltaic's".

 Nanophotonic material that radiates heat back into space as infrared radiation, cooling a building without having to use electricity to run air conditioners.

Researchers have demonstrated a device with heat absorbing sheet composed of  zinc-copper nanoparticles on a thin copper layer and a heat reflecting sheet using a thin silver film. The idea is to use these heat absorbing and reflecting materials to suplement existing HVAC systems and reduce the energy required to heat and cool buildings.

Nanotechnology in Building Materials: Company Directory

Company Product
Advanced Glazing Windows insulated with Aerogel
Thermablok Aerogel insulation designed to stop thermal loss through framing timbers
Konara Solar cells built with nanoparticles intended to be integrated into building materials
Solarmer Energy Solar cells built with nanoparticles intended to be integrated into building materials
Nanoprotect Coating using nanoparticles to provide waterproof coating to porous materials such as stone
BASF Floor leveling compound incorporating that combines nanopores with rubber granules to reduce the work required to tile floors
EnSol Solar cells built with  nanocrystals intended to be integrated into building materials
Industrial Nanotech Nanocomposite coating with low thermal conductivity


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