Saturday, February 25, 2012: 10:48:30 PM

TJCD Case Study

Nanomaterials: Taking construction beyond bricks & mortars

Nanotechnology has a range of possibilities in making the construction industry come up to the expectations of the current times

Construction industry is as old as the civilised living of the mankind. It has undergone tremendous change in the past two centuries. What affected it most was the industrial revolution and its resultant outcome in terms of steel, cement and other building materials. The 20th century saw further refinement in the same with even more sophisticated techniques and devices. Now, it has to move in the next phase where inputs are less and lighter, they are smooth and sturdier; they are cost effective, cleaner and sustainable. It has to move towards more sophistication with the help of emerging technologies like nanotechnology.

Application for nanomaterials in construction industry
Nanoscience and nanotechnology is going to drastically change the construction industry in the years to come. Nanotechnology has a range of possibilities in making the construction industry come up to the expectations of the current times. Nanotechnology offers longer life to the building materials at lower maintenance cost and efforts. In fact, with nano materials in use, maintenance will be a non-issue for a very long time. In most cases, the use of nanotechnology-enabled materials will make it possible for users to maintain the buildings. What is needed is the commitment of the research and scientific community for developing appropriate nanotechnology applications and nanomaterials for the construction industry.
A closer partnership among the nanotechnology industry & construction engineering on the one hand and among the builders and consumers on the other.
Use of nano materials can improve fluidity, strength and durability of the concrete. Nano materials also have the potential to be used to improve the reinforcement qualities like anti-corrosion. Nano-enabled coating of construction materials is going to constitute the largest application of nanotechnology in construction. Nano products like architectural paints, water sealers and deck treatments; treatments applied during fabrication, such as scratch-resistant coatings on vinyl or wood flooring, insulation coatings and the like offer immense market opportunities for nano-materials. Nanotech products and applications, among other benefits, may enhance the performance with regard to blocking of ultra-violet rays, transparency of the structures, photo reactivity, and resistance to stain and odour. Moreover, nanotechnology based coatings can enable creating self-cleaning surfaces. Many of these are already being embedded into window glasses and plumbing fixtures. Nanomaterials and nanotechnology based applications will thus take the construction industry much beyond bricks and mortar.
The Indian construction industry today is in search of solutions which nanotechnology-enabled techniques can offer. This leads to the fact that nano construction materials have a great potential in the Indian markets. 
The following table shows how nano materials can address some common industry problems:

Prominent issues
How nano materials can resolve
Maintenance of glass structures
Anti-fogging and self-cleaning glasses, low maintenance windows
Rusting & scratch
Long lasting scratch resistant floors using nanotechnology
Corrosion/rusting in structures
Super strong structural components made with nanotechnology
Low life of paints: fading etc
Longer lasting house paint using nanotechnology
Numerous problems solved at one stroke
by integrating nano science
  • Healthy and safe indoor climates using nanotechnology
  • Self-cleaning skyscrapers using nanotechnology
  • Antimicrobial steel surfaces using nanotechnology
  • Better industrial building maintenance
  • Less energy consuming buildings using nanotechnology
  • Long lasting roads and bridges using nanotechnology
  • Self-sterilising kitchen counters using nanotechnology
  • Humidity controlling materials using nanotechnology

What SAiNSCE is doing
Construction being a common man’s concern, SAiNSCE is keen to work effectively deploying applications of nano science and developing nanotechnology processes and products offering better standards in construction industry. With that objective, SAiNSCE is actively collaborating with nanotechnology companies, nanotechnology projects, engineers and building community to develop, adapt and adopt certain nanotechnology products.
What SAiNSCE is planning 
SAiNSCE initially plans to market and distribute nanotechnology products in India, gradually expanding to the Asian markets. It also plans to develop its manufacturing/assembly lines using nanotechnology applications in due course of time. While its vision is to cater to the global markets, its focus is on the Indian market as it is a huge market, offering enormous opportunities and challenges. It aims at pioneering the R&D in India to develop nanotechnology products that would enhance the well-being of people.
SAiNSCE is venturing into distribution of certain nanotechnology products in India which would be a boon to the Indian construction industry. The next step is to produce more and more nanotechnology applications for the Indian and Asian markets that can make these places a better abode on one hand and ensure energy and cost savings on the other. SAiNSCE promises that it will have a major contribution through nanotechnology in the infrastructure and real estate sectors in India and will make contribution to them more efficient and resistant.
The case study was prepared by Strategic Applications Integrating Nano Science or SAiNSCE, a global nanotechnology company with network based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

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