Nano Materials in Architecture, Interior Architecture and Design

Nanotechnology is regarded as the key technology of the 21st century and is already transforming many areas of everyday life. In architecture, nanotechnology has led to the development of functional materials and surfaces that offer fast innovation potential, in particular with regard to greater energy efficiency.

Nanotechnology is still a fledging science but one that has been forecast an extremely promising future with a potential to change the world around us. “Nano” derives from the Greek word nanos (Latin: nanus) meaning “dwarf”. Given that a billion nanometers equal to a meter, it should be clear that we are concerned here with the most minute of dimensions. “Nano” cannot be seen with a naked eye.

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The use of nanotechnology offers ecological and economic advantages for energy efficiency and the conservation of resources. Technologies that help reduce climate change are in demand more than ever before. The following paragraphs have, therefore, been arranged to present the properties the nanomaterials and surfaces offer, such as air- purifying, self cleaning and so on…

One of the best-known materials in architecture is self-cleaning paint (Lotus-Effect), where dirt washes off together with the rain. The self- cleaning function should persist for at least five years without needing to be renewed.

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Another widely used nano-function in building construction is photocatalytic self-cleaning. Its primary effect is that it greatly reduces the extent of dirt adhesion on surfaces. It is important to note that the term “self-cleaning” in this content is misleading and does not mean, as commonly assumed that a surface need not be cleaned at all. The interval between cleaning cycles can be extended significantly. Fewer detergents are required, resulting in less environmental pollution and less wear and tear of materials. Generally speaking, photocatalytic self-cleaning is a low-maintenance and trouble- free solution. In addition to the catalyst, the UV component of light is considered essential for the reaction to occur. Photocatalytic self-cleaning surfaces are generally speaking more effective outdoor than indoors.

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So-called easy-to-clean (ETC) surfaces are smooth surfaces with reduced surface attraction. This causes water to be repelled, forming droplets and running off.

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Easy-to-clean surfaces are therefore hydrophobic. This function is used for coating ceramic sanitary installations and shower cubicle glazing. Wood, metal, masonry, concrete, leather as well as textiles are likewise candidates for hydrophobic coatings.

Active Clean Air & Antibacterial Ceramic 

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Active Clean Air & Antibacterial Ceramic™, by Fabrica Marmi e Granite (FMG) is a photocatalytic material that uses the action of light (natural or artificial) to modify the speed of a chemical reaction. Photocatalysis implies that in the presence of air and light a powerful oxidative process is triggered, leading to the decomposition of organic and inorganic pollutants that come into contact with the photocatalic surfaces.

The photocatalyst in Active Clean Air & Antibacterial Ceramic is Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) in the form of micrometric particles fixed at high temperatures. The photocatalysis process triggered by TiO2 in Active Ceramic slabs breaks down many of the pollutants and toxic substances and eliminates bacteria. Also, dirt is very difficult to attach to these slabs and makes it easier to remove dirt by reducing the need of use of cleaning products (which are themselves pollutants). Ordinary rain is enough to remove dirt from exterior wall of buildings.

The odors caused by dirt are broken down and reduced as they are organic molecules oxidized by the process of photocatalysis.

Active Clean Air & Antibacterial Ceramic are available at Epiphaniou Bath & Floors stores in: 

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www.epiphaniou.com

Nicosia: 47 Strovolos Ave., 22441254

Limassol: 66 Ag. Athanasios Ave., 25387613

Pafos: 82 Mesogis Ave., 26941702.

 

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Vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) are ideally suited for providing very good thermal insulation with a much thinner insulation thickness than usual. In comparison to conventional insulation materials such as polystyrene, the thermal conductivity is up to 10 times lower. The panels are constructed as follows: an enveloping skin made of plastic foil (often coated with aluminum) or of stainless steel encloses the fill material in a vacuum. The fill material takes the form of a foam, powder or glass fibers and is always porous, resist pressure and can be evacuated.

VIPs are more expensive than conventional insulation materials but vacuum insulation panels offer great potential in the general context of improving energy efficiency through better insulation and according contribute to reducing the amount of CO2 emissions. VIPs are applied successfully not only in building but also to insulate pipelines, in electronics and for insulating packages.

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In comparison to the relatively well-known self-cleaning properties of nano-based surfaces, nanotechnology- infused thermal insulation represents a new development. A product known as Nanogel, a form of aerogel, not only provides high performance thermal insulation but also effective sound insulation.

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In interior architecture are more materials: PCM plaster that reduced cooling and heating demand, fire- proof glass, anti- reflective glass can solve the problem of reflection, antibacterial wall coatings and floor coverings, anti-fingerprint and touch- proof coatings for steel and glass can give to the surfaces the appearance of cleanliness, antifogging mirrors and more…

Nano functions have been employed in interior design only occasionally if at all, and the more or less by chance. The schematic plans below are for a hotel room, and a bank branch demonstrate concepts for a general strategic approach to using nano functions in interior design. The overall concept varies depending on the respective needs of the different uses. The spaces are optimized through the strategic use of nanosurfaces with regard to aesthetic, ecological and economical concerns.

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