“ SMALLER IS BETTER” ACTIVITY By 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 place. 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. ACTIVITY PROCEDURES: a. Access http://mathforum.org/alejandre/workshops/bucky.net.html 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. REVIEW QUESTIONS: 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 nanotechnology. 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. Students: Additional Resources: (www.nanotech.com, www.askjeeves.com) 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. Mathforum.org, 07/09/05, pages 1 and 2. Unknown. Nanotechnology. www.nanotech.com, nanotechnology glossary,07/09/05, pages 1 to 5. NANOTUBES ACTIVITY By 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 Materials: Scissors, metric ruler, scotch tape, black construction paper, and a calculator. Procedures: A. Cut four slices of construction paper into 8 cm by 12 cm rectangles. 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 area? 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? Louis M. Lanni CARBON NANOTUBE ACTIVITY Subjects: The Middle School Science Curricula Grade Levels: 6th grade, 7th grade, and 8th grade. Objectives: The student will comprehend the recent discovery of nanoparticles. 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. Students: 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. www.nanotechnology.com, 07/09/05,pages 1 to 5.