Nanotechnology and Housing Construction

6 April 2007

Nanotechnology is going to be used in solving an all important housing construction problem: cracks in walls that can jeopardize the structural integrity of a home, especially in parts of the world where homes are built using concrete. Researchers in Greece will soon build a villa on the mountainside that will use Nanoparticles to protect against such cracks. Pressure from the house will cause this material to convert into liquid, then solidify again to plug up the hole. Plans are already in place to have such a home built by 2010.

The success of the project, dubbed Intelligent Safe and Secure Buildings, could have far reaching consequences in building homes that are resistant to earthquake tremors. Researchers intend to use electronic sensors to wire the homes so that they can collect data over long periods of time. All external and internal stresses, such as vibrations, temperature, humidity and gas levels, will continually be monitored and recorded as part of the project.

These sensors will become invaluable in numerous ways. In the case of an impending earthquake, they can become part of a network that alerts residents so that they can flee in time. Also, should the homes be demolished, information contained in the sensors will reveal the exact fault location so that builders can build better construction materials in the future.

Presently the researchers are looking into how to design the Nanoparticle polymers that will be embedded with the construction materials. Once successful, results can be duplicated in a large number of housing projects, creating safer and more livable conditions in parts of the world vulnerable to earthquake shocks.

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