Paper Example on Impact of Nanotechnology in Civil Engineering

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1656 Words
Date:  2022-06-02


Nanotechnology is the understanding and manipulation of data on a Nanoscale (Ginesh, 2012). Nanotechnology has attracted significant interest and has several applications that have influenced the field of civil engineering. According to Hossain and Rameeja (2015), nanotechnology has opened new ways of constructing materials required in the field of civil engineering. It has led to the creation of fire-resistant materials such as steel, long-lasting concrete, and other helpful materials. Surveys from Sweden and the UK indicate that nanotechnology is the most promising invention in the construction industry, especially in concrete products (Rao, Rajasekhar, Vijayalakshmi and Vamshykrishna, 2015). Nanotechnology products can improve the construction materials used in civil engineering. The design and the construction process in civil engineering have benefited significantly from nanotechnology. The result of the technique in this field is the production of light structures, durable structural composites, products that require low maintenance coating, increased reflectivity of glass, and better properties of cementitious materials (Firoozi and Taha, 2014).

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Effects on Concrete

Concrete is one of the most used building material in civil engineering. Nanotechnology has influenced the manufacture of concrete in a myriad of ways. The excellent properties of nanotechnology have led to the enhancement of physical and chemical properties of cement, interfacial, and surface effects (Wang, Zeng, Zhang, Cui and Li, 2016). Nanoconcrete is the product after mixing nanomaterial's with concrete to increase stability. Self-Compacting Concrete (SCC), which is a type of nanoconcrete increases the stability of Portland cement by increasing concrete durability and aesthetic appearance. The presence of this component in concrete reduces the amount of material needed in buildings (Kahachi, and Jalil, 2017). Furthermore, Nano-Silica, which is another type of nanoconcrete improves the nanostructure and mechanical properties of concrete. Besides, Nano-Silica has a lower water and aggregate consumption and reduces the amount of concrete required in the construction site. Equally important, a study by Wang, Zheng, Zhang, Cui and Li (2016) found that Nano-Silica when mixed with concrete, reduced the porosity of concrete, promoted the hydration heat of cement paste, and increased the compressive strength of Portland cement. Mohamed (2014) found that the adding of Nano-Silica in wet conditions increased the compressive strength more than regular concrete that does not consist of Nano-Silica. Besides, the flexure strength of the cement also increased during wet conditions. Another study by Saloma, Nasution, Imran and Abdullah (2015), found that the concrete compressive strength of Nano-Silica increased as days go by, Nano-Silica improves the performance of cement, and it increases the resistance of cement from sulfate attack. Nano-Titanium Dioxide TiO2 allows the concrete to maintain its aesthetic attributes for a longer time. The component is also essential since it gives the surface a self-cleaning effect (Kahachi, and Jalil, 2017). A study by Glenn (2013) utilizing the homogenization model found that the increase of Nano-Silica in a sample of cement increased strength and stiffness. Computational results of the study also indicated similar findings regarding the influence of Nano-Silica on the strength and rigidity of concrete. The study also found that nanomaterial elements in air-entrained caused a denser cement matrix, decreased permeability, and increased concrete strength (Glenn, 2013).

Effects on Steel

Steel is an essential material in the field of construction. It has been in existence since the second industrial revolution. Corrosion and lack of strength are some of the challenges that make steel unfavorable for construction; however, nanotechnology has had significant influences on the material. Nanotechnology can influence the power of steel products and lower the material usage (Kheiri, 2013). Nanoparticles also enhance the corrosion-resistance of steel making it durable. Equally important, stress riser is one of the limiting factors of steel. The corrosion-resistance ability of nanotechnology protects various products such as oil steel pipes from corrosion. Research by Saurav (2015) indicates that copper nanoparticles can reduce the surface unevenness of steel, which lowers the numbers of stress risers. This technology leads to increased safety and efficient materials for construction that require minimal monitoring. Moreover, the addition of calcium and magnesium nanoparticles makes the welds, and the heat affected zones (HAZ) grains finer in plate steel. A study by Wansah, Udounwa, Ahmed, Essiett, and Jackson (2014) indicate that nanotechnology has influenced the development of smart corrosion-inhibiting pigment in the form of a powder, which is used as an anti-corrosion coating. The particles in the corrosion-inhibiting pigment act as nanoscale reservoirs for the corrosion inhibitor. The traditional types of insulation used before on steel oil pipes encouraged moisture to be trapped inside; hence, creating a perfect ground for corrosion. Nanotechnology helps insulate and reduce the instance of corrosion on the steel oil pipes. Besides, nanotechnology plays a crucial role in the metallurgy of steel. Russian metallurgists have used nanotechnology in the reduction of Ural steel. The process involves microalloying steel with nitride phases in combination with plastic-deformation nanotechnologies that assist in strengthening the steel (Kolpakov, Parshin and Chekhovoi, 2007). The steel also becomes cold and corrosion resistant. Fatigue is a common problem evident in steel structures such as bridges, which collapsed due to the repeated loading and unloading. The presence of nanoparticles of copper enables steel to maintain its structural integrity even at high temperatures such as 540 degrees Celsius (Kheiri, 2013).

Effects on Glass

Glass is another material that is used in the construction industry. Glass is frequently positioned in the exterior surface of buildings for the penetration of light. Glass is also susceptible to corrosion and decay. The combination of water and atmospheric gases causes weathering, which is detrimental to the sustainability of the glass (Altavila, 2006). Nanotechnology can influence the structure of glass materials and increase longevity as well as the reduction in corrosion. Nanotechnological solutions such as thin coatings are being developed for window glass. The coat has a significant impact of filtering out unwanted infrared frequencies of light; hence, reducing the heat in buildings (Yasin and Atiyat, 2017). Additionally, thermochromic technologies are under study and can provide thermal insulation, minimize heat in the room, and provide the required lighting. The presence of Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticle in glass has a significant impact on the sustainability of glass. The particles can break down pollutants, volatile organic compounds, and are attracted to water, which assists in washing off the contaminants from the glass. Furthermore, the coating of glass with silica (SiO2) nanoparticles makes the glass rigid and opaque to fire (Mann, 2006). Jones, Gibb, Goodier, Bust, Jin, and Song (2015) also found that Nano-silica intumescent layers influence the properties of the glass by making it a high-grade fire safety for thirty years. Altavila (2006) found that nano-coatings with alkylsilanes (OTS) and fluoroalkylsilanes (FAS) significantly modify the glass wetting properties without changing the visible appearance of the glass. The technology played a crucial role in protecting the glass from water and atmospheric gases that cause weathering and decay. In this case, it can be said that nanotechnology significantly influences the sustainability of glass products making them suitable for construction purposes.

Effects of Nanotechnology on Wood.Wood is an essential material in the field of construction. Wood has been in existent for many years despite its drawbacks such as fire, decay, dimensional instability, and degradation because of weathering (Fufa and Hovde, 2010). Means to extend the durability of wood have been applied for many years, but have proven futile. Nanotechnology proves to have a significant impact on protecting timber and increasing longevity. Nano-based treatments using nanoxides such as TiO2, ZnO, SiO2, and CeO2 minimize reaction to fire and hygroscopic properties, block ultraviolet radiation, and improve scratch and abrasion resistance (Fufa and Hovde, 2010). Oke, Aigbavboa, and Semenya (2017) argue that nanotechnology will bring about a durable type of wood that will have hyper-performance when used in severe environmental conditions. Additional nanotechnology techniques are under research, and once they become applicable, they will have a significant impact on the quality of wood for construction. For instance, researchers are trying to exploit the nanoscale properties of wood to produce a new material that would be light, biobased, and multifunctional to compete with steel and concrete (Sev and Ezel, 2014). Researchers believe that the extraction of nanofibrils will make wood cheaper than manufacturing carbon nanotubes. Although critics argue that the technological advancements might affect the environment, it is evident that thorough research will yield results that will transform the field of construction.


Nanotechnology has gained popularity in various industries including the construction industry. The field of civil engineering has benefited significantly from nanotechnology. Nanotechnology techniques have illustrated positive outcomes regarding its use in concrete, glass, wood, and steal. Nanotechnology has helped in the production of long-lasting, durable, and efficient construction materials.


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Ganesh, V.K., 2012. Nanotechnology in civil engineering. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 8(27). Pp. 96-109.

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Kheiri, F., 2013. Material follows function: nanotechnology and sustainability in steel building constructions. Int J Sci Res (IJSR) ISSN (Online), 2(12), pp.2319-7064.

Kolpakov, S.V., Parshin, V.A. and Chekhovoi, A.N., 2007. Nanotechnology in the metallurgy of steel. Steel in Translation, 37(8), pp.716-721.

Mann, S., 2006. Nanotechnology and construction. Nanoforum report, pp.1-55.Mohamed, A.M., 2016. Influence of nano materials on flexural behavior and compressive strength of concrete. HBRC Journal, 12(2), pp.212-225.

Nasution, A., Imran, I. and Abdullah, M., 2015. Improvement of concrete durability by nanomaterials. Procedia Engineering, 125, pp...

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