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Extending the NIP modules

Extending the NIP modules

I recently had an opportunity to design an all day workshop made up of Nano and Materials modules. I started with Hydrophobicity. Why? Hydro (for short) is one of the key nano concepts and it has applicability to many nanotechnologies. Following the basic hydro concept NIP module, I extended it with a “Waterproofing” challenge. Here is the basic procedure:

Present the NIP module
Set up a challenge, to “design a waterproof fabric.” I made up a story about a group of adventurer clients who needed a lightweight easy to apply waterproofing fabric “system. You should make up your own, include requirements for the team to meet (like lightweight).
Supplies needed:

  • Various “substrates” cut into 4 x 4″ squares. I used 100% cotton (washed to remove any sizing), you can also use paper towels.
  • 3 – 6 substances. I used a couple of hair treatments, one petroleum based; lanolin; flaxseed oil; baby oil. I had them measure out only 3g of the gel substances, the exact amount needed to cover the 4 x 4″ square and I stressed that the cloth must be covered. The oils were provided in small cups or spray bottles for application.
  • Craft sticks for applying the gels, pipettes to do the bead test, also could be used with the oils application.

Procedure:

  • Have participants write up a plan, how will they apply and test the material. We used the same “bead” test in the NIP module.
  • Participants begin designing, applying substances to the substrates and testing, making observations and documenting.
  • When done have them give a “recommendation” for a design, touching on reasons for their recommendation and how the requirements were met. I also had a slide of “What ifs…” what if you double layered the substrate, mixed the substances, etc. Many of them had already tried the “what ifs” and it was interesting to hear the observations, it’s also a catalyst for critical thinking.

This was part of a day long workshop for grades 9 – 14 students and teachers (high school science and technical). We had fun with this and many things came out about nano engineering, the design process, advanced materials, and the substances and substrates used.

The petroleum substance and baby oil seem to give the best waterproofing “results.” Obviously they will be wet, not dry. To illustrate curing and drying in the design process I came prepared with flaxseed oil on cotton that had been dried for several days. The dried sample performed quite differently than the wetted sample.

I also want to note that Linseed oil would be another option and that it is a form of flaxseed oil. However, since I traveled with these supplies, I avoided bringing Linseed oil. Plain glue and wax are other options too.

It was interesting to note the differences between the hair treatment substances. I made the substances a mystery, that’s why I didn’t use plain petroleum jelly and I masked the containers. The two hair treatments I used were interesting because one was petroleum based, very thick and sticky, the other hair treatment was a flaxseed based product and was much different than the flaxseed oil and the petroleum based substance, it almost evaporated as it was applied.

Both hair treatments are available in beauty supply stores, they also proved to be popular items among my audience, they knew the name but not the ingredients.

I also had an SEM image of the best performer, the Suavecito. It was clear in the image that it penetrated the substrate fibers, changed the surface, etc. This was discussed as a basic premise of Hydrophobicity.

I encourage you to try extending a NIP module yourself, it brings in more engagement and potential for further exploration, and can be designed to address many more skills such as the advanced material fabrication process.

Spring 2019 Issue

Spring 2019 Issue

 

The Mighty Microscope!

Since the invention of the compound microscope (1609), advances in microscopy have benefited research and scientific discovery, education and health advancements, and much more. Microscopes belong up there with fire, the wheel, and electricity as one of the most influential inventions/discoveries in our history! That’s why this month we are celebrating the microscope. Take time this Spring to review our selected tutorials on microscopes and get ready to lead your learners through the history and the latest advances of the mighty microscope.

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Leading the way to bring nano science & technology news and information to education and community

DIY Alert – My-Oh-My Micelles

DIY Alert – My-Oh-My Micelles

We get asked all the time… “How can I bring nano into my biotechnology class?” Well here you go, our 7th DIY module release does just that. This module introduces micelles (pronounced MY-sels) and the concept of critical micelle concentration (CMC). Micelles have important applications in biotechnology. Micelles are sometimes used to deliver drugs to targeted organs or tissues in the body. Micelles are also sometimes used to deliver genes into plant cells for agricultural applications. This module explores micelles as a demonstration of the intersection between nanotechnology and biotechnology. The module includes a laboratory activity that uses a surfactant and dye to allow students to experiment with micelle formation.
Get your nano for bio here!

Winter 2018 Issue

Winter 2018 Issue

When decking your halls, deck with Nano. The Winter issue of the Nano-Link Newsletter shows you how with a very cool crowdsourced database under development by manufacturers and researchers defining what is nano. The result will be a first-of-its-kind Consumer Products Inventory. This will be useful to educators and industry alike in understanding how products make it to market.

Get the Winter issue

Leading the way to bring nano science & technology news and information to education and community

DIY Alert – Gamify Nano Learning the DIY Way!

DIY Alert – Gamify Nano Learning the DIY Way!

The fourth release in the Nano-Link DIY Collection has arrived.
Nano-Link’s featured DIY module, Nanotreatment, is a card game that brings solving a water crisis to life! Each deck contains a problem set that outlines a real world water contamination or shortage problem and another set that, when dealt, gives the player a water treatment strategy based on nanotechnology to use to solve the problem. The card content focuses on the kinds of interactions and forces that nanomaterials take advantage of to solve these problems. Players design a problem solution based on the information on their card, resources provided, and the engineering design process. As players rack up points they gain confidence in the power of nanotechnology and their own fact-based decision-making.

So shuffle the deck, draw a problem and get gamified with the Nanotreatment DIY module now!