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					                 “ SMALLER IS BETTER” ACTIVITY
                              Louis M. Lanni

    Dr. Richard Smalley, the 1996 Nobel Prize Winner, remarks, “It’s amazing what
a person can do by just putting atoms where you want them.” All scientists and
engineers are discovering the new world of nanotechnology.
   Nanotechnology is the ability to make things from the “bottom up”, using
techniques and tools that are being developed today to place every atom in a desired
   Size matters! Nano-size is 10 meters, or one billionth of a meter, that’s 40,000
times smaller than the width of a human hair. That’s only ten hydrogen atoms wide.
   Way back in 1995, the Physicist Nobel Prize Winner, Richard Feynmen spoke about
manipulating atoms. In 1974, Norio Taniguchi, a scientist from the University of Tokyo
first coined the phrase nanotechnology. Later, in 1985, Dr. Smalley of Rice
University, discovered a new form of carbon named the buckyball. This third form of
carbon, other than a diamond or the graphite in your pencil, consists of only 60 carbon
atoms in a soccer ball shaped particle. Buckyballs have special properties because of
their small size and atom arrangement. Buckyballs are hundreds of times stronger
than steel and very light weight.
    Today, scientists can manufacture small amounts of buckyballs. Buckyballs are
found in strong, yet light weight materials such as tennis rackets, golf clubs,
lubricants, and jet plane parts.
    Yes, we can also build our own buckyball in the class room. We may not have the
techniques or complicated tools in our class room to build a nano-size buckyball.
However, we can construct a model of a buckyball. Scientists often use models to
explain ideas that are too small to see.

  a. Access
  b. Print out the directions and template.
  c. Materials required: buckyball template, scissors, and scotch tape.
  d. Assign students in groups of two per team.

  1. What is nanotechnology?
  2. What famous scientist coined the term nanotechnology?
  3. Why was the discovery of the buckyball important?
  4. Describe some the properties of buckyballs.
Louis M. Lanni            “SMALLER IS BETTER” ACTIVITY

Subjects:                 The Middle School Curriculum

Grade Levels:             6th, 7th, and 8th Grades.

Objectives:               The student will understand the concept of
                          The pupil will construct a buckyball model.
                          The learner will comprehend the use of modeling
                           in science.

Time Required:            Total of 45 minutes.

Required Materials:        Activity worksheet, buckyball template, scissors,
                           and scotch tape.

Supplemental Materials:   The instructor should review current literature
                          concerning nanotechnology and buckyballs.
                          (Google search, WebQuest search)

Special Needs             Teaming of all students.

Additional Resources:      (,

Sunshine State            SC.1.3.1, SC.A.1.3.4, SC.A.1.3.5, SC.H.1.3.1,
Standards:                SC.H.1.2.3, SC.H.3.35, SC.H.3.3.6.

Extensions:                Internet search: nanotubes, nanowires,
                           nanohorns, nanobelts, and nanosprings.

Teaching Tips:             First, present a nanotechnology lecture. Also
                           present images of nanoparticles.

Bibliography:              Alejandre, A. Buckyballs.,
                           07/09/05, pages 1 and 2.
                           Unknown. Nanotechnology.,
                           nanotechnology glossary,07/09/05, pages 1 to 5.
                       NANOTUBES ACTIVITY
                                Louis M. Lanni
   In 1985, Dr. Smalley first discovered and later manufactured the buckyball. This
rare form of carbon is extremely small. One particle of matter contains only 60
carbon atoms. Although buckyballs, diamonds and graphite are all forms of carbon,
they have vastly different properties. Diamond is the hardest matter found in
nature. Graphite is soft. Buckyballs are harder than diamonds and hundreds of
times stronger than steel. It seems that when you change the arrangement of the
atoms, the properties of the matter also change.
   Buckyballs are found in nature in tiny amounts, such as in matter struck by
lightning and in a burning candles’ soot. Scientists have even discovered
buckyballs on meteorites! Materials engineers are using buckyballs to strengthen
tools, tennis rackets, golf clubs, and engine parts. Future applications include very
strong , light weight composite materials for rockets and jet planes.
   Research scientists have discovered many more types of tiny particles. One
such particle is called a nanotube. These nanosized particles can be only one
billionth of a meter in diameter. One nanometer is 10 th of a meter. That’s even
smaller than a buckyball!
    Mechanical engineers can manipulate matter at this nanoscale. However, the
techniques and tools, that a scientist uses to create these nanoparticles are very
expensive. Though further investigation, engineers may be able to create large
quanities of nanomatter.
    In 1991, Dr. Sumio Ijima improved the SEM, the Scanning Electron Microscope
and discovered another new type of matter, named the nanotube. Later that same
year, Dr. Otto Zhou created single-walled carbon nanotubes. Nanotubes are tiny
tubes of rolled up graphite (carbon) sheets. Some nanotubes are only .4 nm wide.
That’s only six carbon atoms wide! Dr. Smalley, a scientist from Rice University,
has produced 1 mm long nanotubes in quanities of 10 grams per day.
     Why are nanotubes important? These nanosized structures have very special
properties. Carbon nanotubes superconduct electricity, are as stiff as a diamond,
aand 300 times stronger than steel. The nanotubes are also very flexible and
elastic. Scientists have also created even stronger multi-walled nanotubes.
    Future applications of carbon nanotubes are listed:

                   Wire connectors in nanosize computer circuits.
                   Nanosized transistors.
                   Ultraviolet nanosized lasers.
                   Cheap flat screen displays.
                   Very sensitive and inexpensive chemical sensors.
                   Tiny drug delivery systems for the human body.
                     Better batteries and fuel cells.
                     Super strong and light weight materials.

    Scientists and engineers are speculating that nanotechnology is the “next big
thing” to change the world. People had progressed from the Stone Age, using
minerals, to the Copper Age, and then advancing to the Bronze Age, which utilized
metal alloys. Most recently, our civilization has moved from the Industrial Age, with
steel machines powered with coal or petroleum. Presently, humans are
experiencing the Computer Age, which is based on silicon circuits. Is peoplekind
now entering the Nanotechnology Age, with the creation of nanosized particles?

                           THE NANOTUBE ACTIVITY


             Scissors, metric ruler, scotch tape, black construction paper, and a


             A. Cut four slices of construction paper into 8 cm by 12 cm
             B. Stack the four slices of construction paper.
             C. Have the students find the total surface area of this stacked paper.
                Remember: length times width equals area.
             D. Now separate each slice of paper. Roll each paper into a tube. Tape
                the tubes so that they will stand up on the table.
             E. Find the area of each tube. Remember: circumference times the
                height of a cylinder equals the area. (2 rh, and = 3.14 pi).
             F. Now calculate the total area of all four tubes.

Review Questions:

             1. Does the stacked paper, or the four tubes have a greater total surface

             2. Why would greater surface area be beneficial for particles used in a
                very sensitive chemical sensor?

             3. Why are nanotubes a strong type of matter?

Subjects:               The Middle School Science Curricula

Grade Levels:           6th grade, 7th grade, and 8th grade.

Objectives:             The student will comprehend the recent discovery of
                        The learner will understand the structure of a nanotube.

Assessment:             The successful completion of an activity worksheet.

Time Required:          Total of 45 minutes.

Required Materials:     Activity worksheet and posted formulas. Black
                        construction paper, scissors, metric ruler, scotch tape,
                        and a calculator.

List of Supplemental    Lectures notes researched from nanotechnology websites.
 Materials:             The google and webquest search engines are favorable
                        internet sites to explore.

Special Needs           Teaming model.

Additional Resources:   Internet topic search: nanotubes, nanowires.

Sunshine State          SC.A.1.3.1, SC.A.1.3.2, SC.A.1.3.4, SC.A. 1.3.5,
Standards:              SC.H.1.3.2, SC.H.1.3.6, SC.H.3.3.5, SC.H.3.3.6.

Extensions:             Research the internet for information concerning current
                        and future nanotechnology applications.
                        Research nanowires, nanohorns, and nanobelts.
                        Study the careers of mechanical engineers.

Teaching Tips:          Discuss the future applications of nanotubes.
                        Present images of nanotubes.
                        The teaming of students is suggested.

Bibliography:           Unknown. Nanotechnology.,
                        07/09/05,pages 1 to 5.