Asee peer logo

Environmental Impact Of Nanotechnology

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Environmental Engineering Curricula I

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.683.1 - 12.683.12



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Mahbub Uddin Trinity University

author page

Raj Chowdhury Kent State University

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Environmental Impact of Nanotechnology Introduction

The emerging field of Nanotechnology is leading to a technological revolution in the new millennium. It could revolutionize the way our society manufactures goods, generates energy and cures diseases. Nano scale materials are currently being used in consumer goods, computers, electronics, information and biotechnology, aerospace, defense, energy, medicine and many other sectors of our economy. Areas producing the greatest revenue for Nanotechnology applications are chemical-mechanical polishing, magnetic recording tapes, sunscreen, automotive catalyst, bio-labeling, electro-conductive coatings and fiber optics.1

The enormous promise and potential benefits of Nanotechnology also poses major risks to workers, consumers and the environment. Many published reports stated that the “Biological activity of Nanoparticles – including potential adverse as well as beneficial effects – tend to increase as their size decreases”. 2 Nanomaterials have a relatively larger surface area that can make nanoparticles more reactive. Quantum effects can begin to dominate the behavior of matter at the nanoscale, affecting the optical, electrical and magnetic properties. The very properties of nanoscale particles being exploited in certain applications (such as high surface reactivity and the ablility to cross cell membranes) might also have negative health and environmental impacts.3 As a result; nanomaterials may present new health and environmental risks that have not been encountered before. The potential environmental impact of nanotechnology creates a challenge for the academic community to educate environmental engineering students with necessary knowledge, understanding and skills to interact and provide leadership to protect the environment and minimize risk from products of nanotechnology.

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the development of a teaching/learning module on the environmental impact of nanotechnology. The developed module consists of four units: 1. Overview of nanotechnology, applications and manufacturing processes. 2. Sources of nanoparticles and occupational exposure. 3. Human health effect of nanomaterials and environmental risk assessment. 4. Nanoparticle pollution controls and regulations. Each unit includes learning objectives, overview, suggested study topics and list of reading materials. This module is intended to be integrated to an existing sophomore/junior level environmental engineering course.

Unit I: Application of Nanotechnology and Manufacturing Processes

Learning Objective:

Upon completion of this unit students will be able to do the following: 1. Understand the new frontier of nanotechnology and engineered nanomaterials. 2. Identify the various applications of nanomaterials. 3. Recognize the basic principles of nanomaterials manufacturing processes. 4. Analyze the environmental benefits of nanotechnology.

Uddin, M., & Chowdhury, R. (2007, June), Environmental Impact Of Nanotechnology Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1681

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015