I’ve loved nanotechnology since I first read about it in the 80’s thanks to Bob. I read Drexler’s Engines of Creation and it changed the way I look at technology and the future of Humanity. Bob and I have been quietly waiting for any news of its development. Sadly there was very little until in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I think things changed when nanotubes were created. Since then I find tons of articles, research and soon to be technologies that are just about to pop. Yesterday I read about the coolest nanotech based product so far…and I think its going to be huge. So huge that within a few years it will be used everywhere.
A German company named Nanopool has invented Spray-On Glass ( “SiO2 ultra-thin layering”) and it’s kick ass with a capital Cartman. Nanopool has patented and tested a product that is essentially a spray-able liquid glass that can protect almost any product you can think of. The liquid is made almost entirely of silicon dioxide (the main ingredient of glass) with no additional naon-particles, resins or other additives. I can’t find any red-flags that point to a scam or hyperbole or scientific naiveté. The liquid glass is composed of almost pure silicon dioxide, the chemical constituent of quartz or silica, the most abundant mineral in the Earth’s crust. It is inert and has no known harmful impact on the environment. It can
“protect virtually any surface against almost any damage from hazards such as water, UV radiation, dirt, heat, and bacterial infections […] the coating is also flexible and breathable, which makes it suitable for use on an enormous array of products.”
Here are the specs…It’s 15 and 30 molecules thick, flexible and breathable. Because the surface is so smooth it has anti-bacterial properties. Bacteria can’t stick to it. This means that if it’s applied to sterile surfaces you can clean it with hot water. No chemicals needed. No chemicals means it will dramatically be less expensive to clean and is about as green as you can get.
The flexible and breathable glass coating is approximately 100 nanometres thick (500 times thinner than a human hair), and so it is completely undetectable. It is food safe, environmentally friendly (winner of the Green Apple Award) and it can be applied to almost any surface within seconds . When coated, all surfaces become easy to clean and anti- microbially protected (Winner of the NHS Smart Solutions Award ). Houses, cars, ovens, wedding dress or any other protected surface become stain resistant and can be easily cleaned with water ; no cleaning chemicals are required. Amazingly a 30 second DIY application to a sink unit will last for a year or years, depending on how often it is used. But it does not stop there – the coatings are now also recognized as being suitable for agricultural and in-vivo application. Vines coated with SiO2 don’t suffer from mildew, and coated seeds grow more rapidly without the need for anti-fungal chemicals. This will result in farmers in enjoying massively increased yields . Trials for in-vivo applications are subject to a degree of secrecy, but Neil McClelland, the UK Project Manager for Nanopool GmbH, describes the results as “stunning”. “Items such as stents can be coated, and this will create anti sticking features – catheters , and sutures which are a source of infection, will also cease to be problematic.”
Tests have also shown that when seeds are coated with liquid glass they are protected against fungal attacks and they germinate and grow faster than untreated seeds.
We are seeing an early application of nanotechnology that has incredible properties. At the same time my excitement mounts I’m also hoping that companies are cautious. We need to be very carful as industry moves toward nano-scale products. This is not something we can afford to wait on since this technology is available in Germany right now and will be available in the UK in early 2010.
In the meantime I’m going to celebrate by having 100,000 nanobeers with Bob.