Starting small to gain great advantages

Nanotechnology has opened up an entire new world of building material solutions.

From self-cleaning windows and flexible solar panels to LED wallpaper and electricity-generating coatings, nanotechnology has raised the bar when it comes to high-spec building products. By creating new and novel applications, this Lilliputian-scale technological supernova can help to ensure better product performance.

An innovation driver
According to www.smartplanet.com, nanotechnology involves the manipulation of matter at a molecular or atomic scale. The chemical company BASF states that nanotechnology is one of the strongest innovation drivers in research and development. “The dimensions are tiny, but their potential is huge,” states www.basf.com. Dr Andreas Kreimeyer, a board member and research executive director at BASF, says: “Nanotechnology is indispensable in finding answers to questions emerging from a number of different megatrends.” As such, this technology also plays an increasingly important role in the international construction industry, where innovative paints, coatings and concrete additives present a plethora of possibilities that were previously unheard of.

New building blocks for the built environment
According to Michael Smith, an information specialist at NBS, which forms part of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), industry proponents say that nanotechnology will have a giant effect on building practices and materials. The market research group Freedonia expects the demand for nanotechnology to grow up to US$100 billion by 2025 – of this, construction is expected to claim about 7%.

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