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What is nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology is a field of science and engineering that uses nanoparticles to make very small electronic and mechanical objects. Nanoparticles are the size of atoms, and when they are combined they can be made into tiny machines or living things.
Where does nanotechnology get its name from?
The devices made from nanotechnology are very small and are measured in nanometres. One nanometer is 200 times smaller then the thickness of one strand of hair from your head!
What are the types of nanoparticles?
Fixed nanoparticles. When nanoparticles are placed into other objects and can not move around, they are fixed.
Free nanoparticles. When nanoparticles make up the object and can move around by themselves, they are free.
How could nanotechnology be used to help the environment?
Nanotechnology could be used to help solve some of the world's most serious health, environmental, and energy problems. This technology will produce devices that are smaller, lighter, faster and cheaper. If nanoparticles can be made that repair and recycle themselves, then we will need to use fewer materials and less energy to produce things.
What exactly could nanotechnology be used for, in order to help the environment?
Storing solar energy.
Making machines that need less power and produce less heat.
Breaking down all our rubbish.
Making clothes that won't get dirty and won't need to be cleaned.
Is nanotechnology safe?
Scientists do not yet know. It is possible, though, that:
Nanotechnology could be used to make very small guns and explosives used to hurt more people.
Big corporations would be able to control nanotechnology and make a lot of money. It could make other people very poor.
Nanoparticles could change and become harmful to us as well as other animals and the environment.
What can you do to help?
Ask your parents to be careful when buying products that may have nanoparticles in them.
Though nanotechnology may be able to help the environment, we need to find out much more about it before we start making good use of it.