A Brief Study on the relation between Chemical Science and Nanotechnology
Chemical and Nanotechnology are two of the most important scientific fields in recent years, as they both relate and are inextricably linked to the other. According to Thomson Reuters, the global market for Chemical Engineering in 2014 was valued at 874.2 billion dollars, whereas the global market for Nanotechnology was valued at 918.1 billion dollars. And, although Nanotechnology is an established market as a field, Chemical Engineering still, has yet to go full circle, having great prospects in the near future.
Chemical engineering’s long history
Much of Chemical Engineering’s lasting legacy as a major scientific discipline can be attributed to its early heritage. In fact, it has been said that the theory of gases and vapors was first discussed and stated by chemists during the 2nd century BC. By the Middle Ages, there were thousands of different chemical elements and compounds and new discoveries became commonplace.
Following his inventorship of the metal carbon, John Dalton suggested that the elements should be categorized into 18 categories. Furthermore, Dalton theorized that gases and liquids would burn at different temperatures and that the only way to correctly classify liquids was by their vapors. This resulted in him being listed in the text “New Essays in Chemistry,” and he was immediately celebrated as the “father of the combustion engine.” And as a result, by the 19th century, precise and exact sciences such as chemistry, physics, and nuclear physics were commonly applied to industry and automobiles were being constructed to transport people and goods around the globe.
Nanotechnology’s early beginnings
Nowadays, Nanotechnology is an emerging branch of science that is being hailed as a true revolution in science. However, Nanotechnology is primarily the name given to the design of tools and machines that are so small that it is impossible to examine them with the naked eye. It is important to keep in mind that if you are at an airport and are taking a flight, your plane is “hanging” from a crane of sorts, as it is quite large. Nanotechnology refers to devices that are engineered to be much smaller, much more efficient, and much less expensive.
To illustrate this, imagine a chemical engineer fabricating a certain material. This person would either need to work with raw materials or synthesize a substance using chemical reactions. To produce this substance, the chemist would have to make several specific measurements, with each measurement requiring numerous steps that would result in different materials. So, instead of getting a mass of a material, a person would be given the mass of the material.
How Nanotechnology improves upon Chemical Engineering
As mentioned before, Nanotechnology has helped to solve many problems with current Chemical Engineering. For example, there are 3D printing tools that allow engineers to design any structure in their design laboratory, from a simple prototype to a full-blown product. However, the use of these tools would be impossible without the discovery of Polymer Nanocomposites. Polymer Nanocomposites can be produced and produced in an incredibly cheap and simple way, and these new materials have paved the way for future aircraft designs. By not needing a multitude of specialized instruments, materials, or complex and costly manufacturing processes, Nanotechnology has significantly streamlined the design process.
To conclude, a basic examination of the scope and goal of Chemical Engineering will quickly show the extreme diversity that still exists within the discipline, yet with the advent of Nanotechnology, it appears that the field of Chemistry has experienced a surprising evolution. With Nanotechnology on the horizon, it seems quite probable that we will continue to see similar rapid shifts in the future.