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Nanotechnology Before Nanoscience: How we manipulated atoms before realizing it

Posted by :Cambrian

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Nanotechnology has been around for much longer than we realize. Various cultures over history have made many materials which use nanotechnology. Here are some examples:


Damascus Steel

This steel is the famous metal used in Middle Eastern swords. It was inspired by a steel made before the Common Era in India. Scientists are still trying to find out the technique to making this metal. It is extremely sharp and durable. There are many folk tales about the performance of this blade (such as being able to cut a falling cloth). In 2006, researchers realized that this sword had carbon nanotubes and nanowires running through the metal. Nanotechnology provided these amazing properties.


Stained Glass

Medieval stained glass used nanotechnology too. Particles, such as silver nitrate and gold chloride, would act as quantum dots and absorb or reflect different wavelengths of light. When mixed with molten glass, silver nitrate would produce a yellow tint and gold chloride would reflect a red color.


Carbon Black

Carbon Black is nanotechnology that is currently used to reinforce the rubber in car tires. People began to use it in the late 1800’s because it made rubber stronger and more durable. Rubber is mixed with carbon particles to create these properties.



Overall, we have used nanotechnology long before we have understood it. It is the foundation for many amazing materials. Those who worry about the implications of nanotechnology should know that it has been around for a while and hasn’t hurt anyone. Unless you have faced a Damascus Steel blade.


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Tag(s) : Stained Glass, Carbon Black, Steel, quantum dots, nano wires, ,    

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