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STRATEGIC PERSPECTIVES in ‘SMALL TECHNOLOGY’ (speciality and consumer products through organised nanostructures)

R. Oliver, D.A. Graham, D. Sutton and A. Parkin
ICI plc, UK

Keywords: nanoscalar, self assembly, organised, nanomaterials, molecular manufacturing

The Chemical and Process Industries (CPI) has witnessed massive change over the last decade. The Oil and Petrochemicals industry has shifted irrevocably to the Middle and Far East and has been replaced by biochemical and specialty materials market opportunities. Waiting in the wings is the huge potential offered by ‘small technology’ or nanoscalar and nanostructured materials generation. In this talk I will give a view of some of these opportunities from the point of view of a specialty materials and consumer products business and in particular how Chemical Engineering Principles still apply even although the process/product technologies are closer to those developed for semiconductor and electro ceramics industry sectors. The ability to process materials without losing valuable structure and organisation within the material is a key element in providing useful Nanoscalar materials. The trend over the next few years will then be to move towards Molecular Manufacturing principles through scale-down, replication and so called ‘bottom-up’ product synthesis and assembly with an increasing emphasis on organisation or self assembly to yield functionality while still retaining efficiency. The relationships between fluids, interfaces and surfaces over an ever widening set of length scales will be a mainstream activity for functional nanomaterials synthesis and manufacture for decades to come.

NSTI Nanotech 2003 Conference Technical Program Abstract

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