small plans: nanotechnology for the building industry

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Visit nanotechbuzz, the new home of nanotechnology and design

Thanks to the success of this blog, I've been asked by Creative Weblogging to author a new and improved nanotech weblog, nanotechbuzz. There you'll find all the news on the latest developments in nanotechnology and design, plus expanded coverage of many other facets of nanotechnology. So come along and check out our new home at!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

NSF CAREER Award for Nano-Fiber Reinforced Concrete

Vanderbilt University assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering Florence Sanchez has won a prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for her research on the long-term durability of nano-structured cement-based materials. Sanchez wants to use the award to explore how new materials being developed by the nanoscience community might contribute to solving common problems in concrete construction. Nanofibers made of carbon, for example, might be added to a concrete bridge, making it possible to heat the structure during winter or allowing it to monitor itself for cracks because of the fibers’ ability to conduct electricity. more @

"In the future, everyone will be a designer"

Fortune Magazine’s Innovation Forum last week hosted a session on “Design Matters" featuring BMW's Director of Design, Target's Creative Director, and the President of the Art Center College of Design. The consensus opinion was that, in the future, design would become just as important as literacy. Chris Bangle of BMW predicted that, "In the future, everyone will be a designer." more @

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Ferrofluid is a solution containing nanoscale particles that respond to a magnetic field. Watch the video. more @

New nanotech website focuses on health and environment

A partnership between the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Pew Charitable Trusts has resulted in the 'Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies' website. The site examines the effects of nanotechnology on human health and the environment. It aims to "ensure that as nanotechnologies advance, possible risks are minimized, public and consumer engagement remains strong, and the potential benefits of these new technologies are realized." more @

Monday, December 05, 2005

Konarka receives NSF grant for Power Plastic

Konarka Technologies, Inc., an innovator in developing and commercializing Power Plastic that converts light to energy, today announced it was awarded a $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will fund research to gain higher performance from Power Plastic that makes it possible for devices, systems and structures to have their own low cost embedded sources of renewable power. more @

Friday, December 02, 2005

A new blueprint for self-assembly by design

Princeton University researchers have devised an approach that would enable them to produce configurations of nanoparticles by manipulating the way the particles interact with one another. “If one thinks of a nanomaterial as a house, our approach enables a scientist to act as architect, contractor, and day laborer all wrapped up in one," their paper says. "We design the components of the house, such as the 2-by-4s and cement blocks, so that they will interact with each other in such a way that when you throw them together randomly they self-assemble into the desired house." more @

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Why toucan beaks are models of lightweight strength

Researchers at UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering report that the secret to the toucan beak's lightweight strength is an unusual bio-composite. The interior of the beak is rigid "foam" made of bony fibers sandwiched between layers of keratin, the protein that makes up fingernails. "Our computer modeling shows that the beak is optimized to an amazing degree for high strength and very little weight," says Professor Marc A. Meyers. more @