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Module Abstract

This module introduces students to the nanotechnologies, processes, and methods being tested by industry to prepare strong and lightweight cementitious products and systems. The module takes the learner through processing a material (called microgrinding or powder milling) to reduce its size and use the new material (nanoparticles) as an aggregate to create a dense yet light and strong concrete. Hands-on activities include processing nanoparticles, creating nanocrete samples, and testing samples for tensile strength and durability (hardness).

Module Resources and Documents

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Nanocrete Module

Nanocrete Slides

Nano Concepts (Which nanotechnology areas are being explored)

  • Sense of scale (size of aggregate particles before and after processing)
  • Surface area to volume ratio (more cement particles make contact with the Perlite)
  • Priority of forces and interactions (density and particle packing, hydration at a smaller size, hydrogen bonds, and Van der Waals interactions)
  • The tools of nanoscience (micro-grinding, scanning electron microscopy)

Traditional Science Concepts (Which science areas are being explored)

  • Mechanical strength of materials
  • Types of mechanical stress: tensile, shear
  • The relationship between stress and strain
  • The nature and structure of matter

List of Required Materials (Per person/team)
The full list of items needed for this module is below.  Note that materials for DIY modules are not available through Nano-Link or the Nano-Infusion program.

  • Perlite
  • Ground Perlite
  • 6 molds
  • 2 beakers
  • Measuring spoon (tablespoon)
  • 2 stir sticks
  • 2 mixing cups/buckets – Clear vessels work best.
  • A mold release, such as spray cooking oil or a commercial spray release from a hobby store
  • Digital scale, tabletop type such as a kitchen/food scale.
  • Latex gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Aprons