Are You Using Nanotechnology?

It wasn’t long ago that nanotechnology belonged solely in the realm of science fiction, but times are changing fast and today thanks to Canadian nanotechnology company, Nanex, applied nanotechnology is a reality. Nanex has developed what they call nano-structured superhydrophobic coatings. A clear spray on formula that will make any material highly water repellent, even wool!

Nanex’s water repellent coatings are branded as AquaShield and there are different formulas for a large variety of materials ranging from concrete to leather. Although it sounds like something out of science fiction, AquaShield waterproofs materials by scaring away water. The technology uses sub-molecular particles called nano-polymers, small manmade forms that bond with the molecules of the material they are applied to changing it into a new kind of surface, a superhydrophobic surface.

But superhydrophobic surfaces themselves are not new, in fact they’ve been used by nature since the beginning of time. Have you ever wondered how an insect stands on water, or how the leaves of a tree always seem to be clean? These forms of nature are using naturally occurring superhydrophobic surfaces to manipulate water and make it their ally. In their AquaShield water repellent sprays, Nanex has mimicked nature through nano-scale manipulation of solid matter.

This all sounds incredible and almost too good to be true, so some might worry that these new technologies are creating new hazards for our health or for the eco-system, but according to Nanex the AquaShield formulas are entirely non-toxic and eco-friendly. How is that possible? The answer may seem even more incredible and lead to even more questions. AquaShield is water. That’s right, a bottle of AquaShield is 99% regular water, but inside that water are billions upon billions of those nano-sized polymers. Each polymer is cut into a form that will naturally adhere and bond on a molecular level with the molecules of the material it’s meant to transform. The nano-polymers themselves? Just a naturally occurring mineral.

OK, so these nanotechnology water repellents must be crazy expensive or need professionals to apply them right? Again, almost too good to be true; AquaShield sells for under $30 and to apply it you just spray it on and let it dry.

You’re probably considering all the cool uses that you yourself have for these technologies, but think bigger… The same superhydrophobic properties that keep a leaf clean can be applied to solar panels that would no longer need to be cleaned to put out 100$ of its energy. Water damage causes hundreds of millions of dollars yearly to our cities, cracking roads, and rotting the foundations of buildings. All of that is a thing of the past with superhydrophobic nanotechnology.

Nanex’s AquaShield technology may not be nano-sized robots or other imaginings of the sci-fi genre, but as one example of nano-technology it could change the world. In the meantime it looks super cool and I can’t wait to experiment with some.