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New American Chemical Society Podcast: Big Building Blocks From Nanoparticles

September 14, 2010

A new genre of construction materials, made with particles barely 1/50,000th the width of a human hair, is about to play a big role in the building of homes, offices, bridges, and other structures, according to the latest episode in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) award-winning podcast series, “Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions.”

A new Global Challenges podcast and website is highlighting both the potential benefits of these nanomaterials in improving construction materials and the need for guidelines to regulate their use and disposal. It is based on a report in the monthly journal ACS Nano.

Pedro Alvarez, Ph.D., and colleagues at Rice University in Houston, Texas, note that nanomaterials likely will have a greater impact on the construction industry than any other sector of the economy, except biomedical and electronics applications. Certain nanomaterials can improve the strength of concrete, serve as self-cleaning and self-sanitizing coatings, and provide many other construction benefits, they say. Concerns exist, however, about the potential adverse health and environmental effects of construction nanomaterials, the study adds.

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