American Society of Civil Engineers

Can Nanotechnology Address Today’s Civil Engineering Challenges?

by D. M Mulenga, (Halcrow Group Ltd, Birmingham, United Kingdom) and P. C. Robery, (Halcrow Group Ltd, Birmingham, United Kingdom)
Section: Bridges II, pp. 609-621, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Structures Congress 2010
Abstract: Nanotechnology has become very much the buzz-word of the 21st century. While tangible benefits are being realized in industries ranging from medical to consumer products, the conservative construction sector has been slow to embrace the new technology. Despite the availability of various construction products that claim nanotechnology-based improvements the question still remains whether these developments are true breakthroughs in themselves — or is it that we can now see structures and interactions under the "nano-scope" for the first time? Identifying step-change developments in concrete materials and systems due to nanotechnology is a challenge for practicing engineers. However, this will become more visible as more breakthroughs are made, so the sector may benefit from intelligent, cost effective, safer, durable and environmentally friendly materials and structures. This paper sets out some of the challenges facing the civil engineering industry and looks at possible developments in nanotechnology that may help address the challenges over the coming decade.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Civil engineering