Workshop Wrap-Up

The workshop co-chairs, T.S.Sudarshan and Julia Weertman, provided short summaries of the key issues presented during the five sessions, after which a final discussion concluded the workshop.

Dr. Sudarshan raised two issues that are important to consider with nanostructured materials:

  • Safety and health issues associated with nanoparticles. These were not discussed at the workshop. For example,

    • Handling of powders (e.g., their flammability means it costs $4000 to ship $1000 worth of material)

    • Inhalation of powders.

  • Embedding nanoparticles in fabrics. For example, DARPA funded the Georgia Institute of Technology to study the closing or opening pores in material to facilitate breathability and temperature control, and to prevent contamination.

Finally, Dr. Sudarshan noted that the funding provided by government agencies is usually awarded after a long evaluation period, during which small businesses with novel ideas might go out of business or their ideas might become obsolete.

Professor Weertman listed the main barriers to commercialization mentioned during the workshop:

  • Low tensile ductility and low toughness;

  • Grain size (what is optimum?);

  • High cost of synthesis and processing of material;

  • Scale-up from small laboratory samples to large amounts;

  • Stability of microstructures over long time periods, especially at elevated temperatures;

  • Modeling and simulation (need to link atomistic and continuum modeling to provide predictive capability for the behavior of nanostructured materials);

  • Industry need for fast return on investment; and

  • Lack of trained people and the need for interdisciplinary teams.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 29
Summary of the Workshop on Structural Nanomaterials Workshop Wrap-Up The workshop co-chairs, T.S.Sudarshan and Julia Weertman, provided short summaries of the key issues presented during the five sessions, after which a final discussion concluded the workshop. Dr. Sudarshan raised two issues that are important to consider with nanostructured materials: Safety and health issues associated with nanoparticles. These were not discussed at the workshop. For example, Handling of powders (e.g., their flammability means it costs $4000 to ship $1000 worth of material) Inhalation of powders. Embedding nanoparticles in fabrics. For example, DARPA funded the Georgia Institute of Technology to study the closing or opening pores in material to facilitate breathability and temperature control, and to prevent contamination. Finally, Dr. Sudarshan noted that the funding provided by government agencies is usually awarded after a long evaluation period, during which small businesses with novel ideas might go out of business or their ideas might become obsolete. Professor Weertman listed the main barriers to commercialization mentioned during the workshop: Low tensile ductility and low toughness; Grain size (what is optimum?); High cost of synthesis and processing of material; Scale-up from small laboratory samples to large amounts; Stability of microstructures over long time periods, especially at elevated temperatures; Modeling and simulation (need to link atomistic and continuum modeling to provide predictive capability for the behavior of nanostructured materials); Industry need for fast return on investment; and Lack of trained people and the need for interdisciplinary teams.

OCR for page 29
Summary of the Workshop on Structural Nanomaterials Members of the audience raised additional questions: Are there better ways to speed the transition from materials research to commercial products? Thomas Gates mentioned that DARPA’s Accelerated Insertion of Materials (AIM) program is examining this topic. Ken Crelling of DOD and Walter Milligan both mentioned that a product designer must have confidence in a new material’s reliability and performance. Mr. Crelling stated that this can take 20 years in the airline industry. Dr. Sudarshan mentioned several approaches. One was using co-op graduate students to connect universities and industry (he noted that this was not an answer to transitioning materials per se, but it does move current knowledge). He also mentioned university spin-offs, licensing technology to business, and funding agency-directed activities as ways of establishing links. What is the role of academia with respect to education? Several participants mentioned some existing programs (e.g., Rice University and Northwestern University programs for interdisciplinary teaming of technical M.B.A.’s and Ph.D.’s and nontechnical M.B.A.’s). Mr. Crelling commented that multidisciplinary activities should be part of the degree program and not left to the individual student to create ad hoc. How can research funding support longer-term work? Professor Weertman noted that the problem with longer-term timelines is that funding agencies want results. Funding also is awarded for the next hot topic. There needs to be commitment to sticking with something. Another attendee pointed out that different agencies have different missions. For example, NSF, parts of DOE, and NIH don’t have that time pressure. There are 3- year grants with 3-year renewals. Toni Maréchaux of NMAB observed that materials scientists and designers need to connect. Other disciplines look at the whole path, but materials science doesn’t—once a new material is synthesized, interest in it falls off. Dr. Sudarshan then revisited the issue of a “grand challenge” for nanotechnology. He mentioned that the medical community has specific targets, such as curing cancer or AIDS, and so forth. But there is no such target for the materials community. The advantages of creating, developing, and commercializing nanostructured materials and products must be made clear to the general public as was done for the Human Genome Project. This could translate into increased funding. Co-chairs T.S.Sudarshan and Julia Weertman thanked the group for their attendance at the workshop, and the meeting adjourned.

OCR for page 29
Summary of the Workshop on Structural Nanomaterials APPENDIXES

OCR for page 29
Summary of the Workshop on Structural Nanomaterials This page in the original is blank.