Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Nanomaterials Inventory Helps to Track Products

Nanomaterial research is a field that takes a materials science-based approach on nanotechnology. It studies materials with morphological features on the nanoscale, and especially those that have special properties stemming from their nanoscale dimensions.[1] During the last decades, due to the long-term applied research, nanotechnologies are gaining in commercial use. However, the concern is how to detect the “nano” products from the regular ones on the market. In fact, it seems difficult for the customer or even the scientists to track those “nano” products without certain technology.

Nowadays, the Virginia Tech Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology (VTSuN) has joined the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars to study and expand the Nanotechnology Consumer Product Inventory – the important information resource to track the “nano” products. Although it is not comprehensive, this inventory gives the public the best available look at the 1,600+manufacturer-identified nanotechnology-based consumer products introduced to the market.[2]

In today’s society, everyone might have the similar experience when purchasing the so called “nano” products. One day, I was trying to buy the socks with nano silver washed out when one of my friend told me about the new technology. I went to Walmart and hoped to get some information about this sort of new-technology based products, the problem was the only difference between “nano” socks and those regular ones that I could tell was the word “nanotechnology-based” on the packing mark, which made me depressed and I chose to purchase it online at last since more information could be found through the internet or on-line shop. 

 “We want people to appreciate the revolution, such as in electronics and medicine. But we also want them to be informed.” Just like the research scientist at Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science said in the article, customers need to know which merchandise could be called “nano”.

In my view, the most impressive thing about the new version of the inventory is the additional information provided due to a large amount of research and the ability to search by product type, which make it possible for not only the researchers but also the consumers to become well-informed of the products contained nanomaterials. The primary challenge when researchers attempted to access the potential environmental impact of nanomaterials was how the “nano” products end up in the environment, and now it might be solved by searching the CPI and get the information of the application of nanotechnologies in the products on the market.

On the other hand, in order to make the data available more reliable, the team also included published scientific data related to the “nano” products. After interviewed more than 50 nanotechnology experts with more than 350 combined years of experience in nanotechnology, the team also get enough information and guidance that might lead them to address diverse stakeholder needs. Since anyone is able to suggest the edition on the site simply by logging in, the new information is able to go alive. As my point of view, the aim of the team’s action will increase the share of information among citizens, researchers, investors and consumers, allow them to better understand how nanomaterials can be put into the consumer’s market and how it works. Just like the research scientist in the team mentioned, the goal of this innovation is to create a living, growing inventory for the exchange of accurate information on nano­enabled consumer products.

In the video below, Dr. Stefan Bon introduced three examples of the application of nanomaterials in products, it might help us understand what nanotechnology is. 

Original Article: http://yottafire.com/2014/01/nanomaterials-inventory-improved-help-consumers-scientists-track-products/

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