Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Gold, Glass and Nanotechnology

curtain walling
curtain walling

Abstract:
Wrightstyle Limited is a leading international supplier of integrated steel and glass systems with an international client base. Lee Coates, the company's technical director, looks at what the future holds for a material that is fundamental to modern architecture.

Gold, Glass and Nanotechnology

UK | Posted on December 8th, 2010

The modern science of nanotechnology, the highly-advanced manipulation of matter at a molecular level, and which is set to revolutionise every aspect of our lives in the next decade or so, was in fact invented by a medieval glazier. He was, of course, completely unaware of it.

Not that you can blame the poor fellow because, in looking to the future of glass, and the enormous strides that are taking place in glass and framing technologies, it is worth remembering that nobody can still quite agree on something more fundamental - whether or not glass is a solid.

Strangely, there is no clear answer to that question because, in terms of molecular dynamics and thermodynamics, it is possible to prove that glass is either a highly viscous liquid or an amorphous solid - or, more confusingly, that it exists in a state of being that is neither of the above.

However, in considering the future of glass, do such semantics really matter? Well, not really, since there is no clearly defined distinction between solids and highly viscous liquids, and that, in any case, it is now generally accepted that glass has to be considered a solid for the very good and utterly unscientific reason that it is, well, solid.

Semantics aside, until very recently many scientists didn't believe that glass was a solid. The main evidence for this came from studying very old stained glass windows, and finding that the glass at the bottom was thicker than that on the top - ergo, over the centuries it must have flowed downwards.

All very logical, except that in mediaeval Europe glass was generally made from the Crown process, where molten glass was rolled out and spun into a large disc. When the discs were cut into panes, the sheets were thinner at the centre and thicker at the edge. When the subsequent panes were installed in a church - their usual destination - it made perfect sense to fit the heavier side at the bottom.

Once the medieval manufacturing process was better understood, closer examination of stained glass windows then seemed to confirm the hypothesis that glass was indeed a solid. Those studies included the oldest known set of stained glass windows, dating from the 11th century, in the clerestory of Augsburg Cathedral in Bavaria.

Other studies looked at stained glass windows in other parts of Europe, including the North Rose Window of Notre Dame, Paris, which dates from the mid-13th century. Careful analysis suggested that the glass hadn't flowed downwards.

Other research bolstered that theory - the best example being a study on the Portland Vase, now in the British Museum in London, and which is generally believed to have been made in Rome between 30 BC and 20 BC. The vase, the inspiration of Josiah Wedgewood, is still as perfectly proportioned - top and bottom - as it was when first constructed 2000 years ago.

Given the long history of glass, and the huge strides we have made, it's surprising therefore that its basic structure - solid or highly viscous liquid? - can still be the subject of debate. However, what is not in dispute is that glass is the one building material that is continuing to reinvent itself to become smarter, stronger and multi-functional.

Today's glasses, often with a thin molecular coating on its surface, or sandwiched into glass composites, are able to provide solar control, noise reduction, thermal insulation, and power generation - as well as the mechanical strength to stop fire, ballistic attack, or even a terrorist bomb.

Those developments have been primarily driven by the requirement to provide better insulation and, more recently, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This has been at the heart of developments in Low-E, or low emissivity, glasses that still allow large spans of glass to be incorporated into the design process.

However, it's not just about reducing energy loss, and much research is now aimed at making glass function in a number of complementary ways. For example, energy efficiency can equally be about balancing the amount of sunlight, and therefore heat, that enters a building. A current technology is photochromatic glass that, just like reactive sunglasses, responds to solar radiation by changing colour.

A smarter technology is electrochromatic glazing. This responds to electrical current rather than solar radiation and is already widely installed for privacy rooms. At the touch of a switch, the clear glass turns immediately opaque. In the years ahead, more buildings will utilise the technology for the external envelope, with the sunlight balance controlled through a computerised management system.

Also in that envelope will be photovoltaic glass, with integrated solar cells that convert solar energy into electricity and therefore power for that building. The technology involves placing solar cells between two glass panes, with each individual cell having electrical connections to other cells in the module. One of the first applications was installed in the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, California.

However, all of these glasses have to be looked at in terms of the complete glass and glazing system, rather than in isolation because, for example, heat loss can be greater from the frame than through the glass. In other words, in calculating thermal insulation, both the glass and its supporting frame need to be considered.

Glass is still pushing the boundaries, incorporating new technologies to deliver ever more intelligent products and systems. For example, low reflective glass aimed first at the motor industry as a significant advance in automotive safety is now available in large stock sheets, and in either laminated or toughened format.

Still on the subject of safety, another avenue for research has been the development of glass types to mitigate against fire and other threats. Let's remember that it was only twenty or so so years ago that the only fire glass on the market was wired glass. Effective, yes, but utterly ugly - and not good if you accidentally put your hand through it.

Today's modern glass composites have near-perfect optical quality and can stop a fire for two hours or more, prevent bullets from passing through - and, as we at Wrightstyle know, can withstand the detonation of a high explosive charge. As part of our comprehensive testing regime, we recently and successfully tested one of our systems against a blast from 500kg of TNT-equivalent explosive, equivalent to a lorry bomb.

Once again, any life-safety application for glass must look at both the glass type and its framing system. Both must be compatible, and have test certification for compatibility, because a high-performance glass is only as good as its framing system, and vice versa.

These, therefore, are the kinds of technologies and processes that today's glass and glazing systems can incorporate - reducing heat loss or gain, and balancing carbon emission with energy generation. However, the next big thing in glass technology is fast approaching - the new dawn of nanotechnology.

This is the technology that will allow scientists to create things that are fantastically small. In the near future, for example, an area the size of a postage stamp will be able to store a terabyte (1,000,000,000,000 bytes) of data, roughly ten hours of HD video.

Every aspect of our lives will be touched by nanotchnology - from communications to every manufacturing process, from super-efficient lightbulbs to super-efficient power-stations. Aeroplanes will be lighter and stronger, cars non-polluting, and medicine's ability to detect and treat illness will be revolutionised.

Nor is it the stuff of science fiction. Already, there are clothes on the market made with nano-particles that are stain-resistant, golf clubs that are lighter but able to drive the ball further, and automobile components that are stronger. In Australia, 60% of sunscreen is now manufactured using nanotachnology.

In the glass industry, it has already led to molecular coatings to repel water and dirt and, as nanotechnology further miniturises the very small, evermore efficient glasses and photovoltaic cells that will generate much larger amounts of electricity - in huge spans of nanotech glass not yet possible.

But nanotechnology isn't just the future. It was invented in Europe centuries ago. Early medieval glaziers, using molten gold to decorate stained glass were not only making the first sputter coated glasses, they were also producing nanoparticles.

The art of the medieval glazier was, of course, simply to create decoration and encourage religious devotion. However, tiny particles of gold, when energised by the sun, destroy harmful airborne pollutants like volatile organic chemicals (VOCs).

In the process, the sunlight's electromagnetic field interacts with electrons in the gold to create a resonance. This excites the gold nanoparticles that then break the pollutant molecules into relatively harmless carbon dioxide gas.

So it's nice to know that the glass industry has been at the forefront of advanced molecular science since the Middle Ages, even if it still doesn't know whether glass is more closely related to a dry martini or a skyscraper.

####

About Wrightstyle Limited
Wrightstyle, based in the UK, is an international supplier of integrated fire-rated steel and glass glazing systems, with a comprehensive range of products offering both internal and external fire, ballistic and blast protection. Their systems can be found from Australasia and the Asia-Pacific regions to the USA, and from the UK and Ireland to the Middle East and South Africa.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
For general media enquiries
Jane Embury or Simon Bennett
Wrightstyle
+44 (0) 1380 722 239



For technical information only
Lee Coates
Wrightstyle
+44 (0) 1380 722 239


For media enquiries and images
Charlie Laidlaw
David Gray PR
+44 (0) 1620 844 736
(mobile) +44 (0) 7890 396518

Copyright © Wrightstyle

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

SEFCU, SUNY Poly CNSE Announce Winning Student-Led Teams in the 6th Annual $500,000 New York Business Plan Competition April 25th, 2015

Northwestern scientists develop first liquid nanolaser: Technology could lead to new way of doing 'lab on a chip' medical diagnostics April 25th, 2015

Nanotech-enabled moisturizer speeds healing of diabetic skin wounds: Spherical nucleic acids silence gene that interferes with wound healing April 24th, 2015

Fast and accurate 3-D imaging technique to track optically trapped particles April 24th, 2015

Products

Iran Unveils 6 Knowledge-Based Products April 11th, 2015

Toronto-based Environmental Technology Pioneer Green Earth Nano Science Expands in EU February 6th, 2015

DELSEY by Philippe Starck DELSEY Launches New Collection by Philippe Starck February 4th, 2015

NEI introduces NANOMYTE® SuperAi, a Durable Anti-ice Coating December 4th, 2014

Possible Futures

Printing Silicon on Paper, with Lasers April 21st, 2015

A glass fiber that brings light to a standstill: By coupling photons to atoms, light in a glass fiber can be slowed down to the speed of an express train; for a short while it can even be brought to a complete stop April 9th, 2015

Nanotechnology in Medical Devices Market is expected to reach $8.5 Billion by 2019 March 25th, 2015

Nanotechnology Enabled Drug Delivery to Influence Future Diagnosis and Treatments of Diseases March 21st, 2015

Memory Technology

Northwestern scientists develop first liquid nanolaser: Technology could lead to new way of doing 'lab on a chip' medical diagnostics April 25th, 2015

Drexel materials scientists putting a new spin on computing memory April 22nd, 2015

Phonons, arise! Small electric voltage alters conductivity in key materials April 22nd, 2015

DWI scientists program the lifetime of self-assembled nanostructures April 9th, 2015

Materials/Metamaterials

Electron spin brings order to high entropy alloys April 23rd, 2015

Scientists Use Nanoscale Building Blocks and DNA 'Glue' to Shape 3D Superlattices: New approach to designing ordered composite materials for possible energy applications April 23rd, 2015

Surface matters: Huge reduction of heat conduction observed in flat silicon channels April 23rd, 2015

Nanoparticles Used to Improve Mechanical, Thermal Properties of Cellulose Fibers April 23rd, 2015

Energy

Pseudoparticles travel through photoactive material: KIT scientists measure important process in the conversion of light energy -- publication in Nature Communications April 24th, 2015

Scientists Use Nanoscale Building Blocks and DNA 'Glue' to Shape 3D Superlattices: New approach to designing ordered composite materials for possible energy applications April 23rd, 2015

'Holey' graphene for energy storage: Charged holes in graphene increase energy storage capacity April 22nd, 2015

Expanding the reach of metallic glass April 22nd, 2015

Sports

Nanoparticles Used to Improve Mechanical, Thermal Properties of Cellulose Fibers April 23rd, 2015

Researchers use nanotechnology to engineer ACL replacements: Researchers created a tri-component, synthetic graft for reconstructing torn anterior cruciate ligaments December 30th, 2014

‘Small’ transformation yields big changes September 16th, 2014

CEA-Leti and CORIMA Team up on Force Sensors Integrated in Cycle Wheels to Measure Rider Power Output June 26th, 2014

Home

The Original Frameless Shower Doors Installs DFI's FuseCube™ to Offer Hydrophobic Protective Coating as a Standard Feature: First DFI FuseCube™ Installed on the East Coast to Enable Key Differentiator for the Original Frameless Shower Doors January 29th, 2015

Materials - Next-generation insulation ... January 13th, 2015

Biosenta Inc. Updates New Household Disinfectant Testing Results; It Kills 100% of a Broad Range of Deadly Molds, Fungi, Bacteria, and Viruses, Including Ebola and Enterovirus D68 November 20th, 2014

Iranian Nano Scientists Create Flame-Resistant Polymers September 13th, 2014

Textiles/Clothing

Nanocomposites Play Effective Role in Production of Smart Fibers April 18th, 2015

Inkjet-printed liquid metal could bring wearable tech, soft robotics April 8th, 2015

FibeRio and VF Corporation Form Strategic Partnership to Lead the Apparel and Footwear Markets in Nanofiber Technology April 8th, 2015

Scientists discover gecko secret March 16th, 2015

Personal Care

Application of Egg White in Production of Nanoparticles April 6th, 2015

Sunblock poses potential hazard to sea life August 20th, 2014

AQUANOVA receives Technology Leadership Award 2014 FROST & SULLIVAN honors NovaSOL® Technology again August 12th, 2014

Nanotechnology used in sunscreens: a Mexican achievement May 14th, 2014

Solar/Photovoltaic

Pseudoparticles travel through photoactive material: KIT scientists measure important process in the conversion of light energy -- publication in Nature Communications April 24th, 2015

Printing Silicon on Paper, with Lasers April 21st, 2015

Better battery imaging paves way for renewable energy future April 20th, 2015

The microscopic topography of ink on paper: Researchers have analyzed the varying thickness of printed toner in unprecedented 3-D detail, yielding insights that could lead to higher quality, less expensive and more environmentally-friendly glossy and non-glossy papers April 14th, 2015

Construction

Nanoparticles Used to Improve Mechanical, Thermal Properties of Cellulose Fibers April 23rd, 2015

Blue Star Opportunities Corp. (BSTO) Completes Major Condo Building Project in Manhattan Residential Area; Company Now Has the Resources to Service the Largest of Construction Projects April 21st, 2015

To Conserve London's 300-Year-Old Masterpiece, Nanotech & Drones April 12th, 2015

Effect of Carbon Nanotubes on Properties of Cement Composites Studied in Iran March 23rd, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project