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Sharmila Mukhopadhyay
Emerging Materials for Next Generation Manufacturing
April 11, 2017

Manufacturing products in the future will need to be made with new and improved engineering materials. The World Economic Forum lists top ten emerging technologies for 2016, and eight of those depend upon nanomaterials, which are 1-100 nm in size. The power of nanotechnology comes from the unique properties of solids confined to tiny length scales, which have the potential to enhance manufactured products for all industry sectors: oil & gas, clean energy, food, drugs, bio-medical technologies, electronics/internet, aerospace/ defense, and infrastructure. While such materials provide unprecedented functional advantages, they also bring new challenges of handling, production and environmental safety. Therefore, evidence-based policies are needed to balance benefits with risks throughout the supply chain. This talk will provide an overview of the current state of nanotechnology and its vast possibilities in different industry sectors. This will include a few specific examples from the speaker’s laboratory, where nanomaterials are integrated with larger solid structures. In this hierarchical hybrid material design, functional benefits of nanomaterials can be maximized while environmental risks are minimized. A wide variety of applications, ranging from water purification and energy storage to bio-sensing and tissue regeneration, have been advanced by this design and will be touched upon.