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Sustainable Nanotechnology Education For Engineers

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Materials in Design and Manufacturing

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1128.1 - 13.1128.7



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Paper Authors


Zhiqiang Hu University of Missouri - Columbia

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Zhiqiang Hu, Ph.D., P.E.
Assistant Professor
Civil and Environmental Engineering
E2509 Lafferre Hall
University of Missouri-Columbia
Columbia, MO 65211

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

Sustainable Nanotechnology Education for Engineers


Nanotechnology is defined as the understanding and control of materials at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers. Because of their unique size-tunable properties (e.g., the quantum size effects) and large surface areas, nanomaterials present vastly different properties from those of bulk materials. While nanotechnology has great potential for beneficial environmental uses, the explosion of nanotechnology-enhanced products raises concerns regarding the adverse effects of nanoparticles on human health and the environment.

The current engineering curriculum at the University of Missouri (MU), like the major of the 300 accredited engineering colleges in the U.S., lacks a sustainability component. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) 2000 criteria, however, requires that all engineering students develop an understanding of the impact of engineering solutions in a sustainable global context, as well as have “an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.” Undergraduate engineering students will face these significant challenges and their education and training must adapt in order to adequately prepare the next generation of engineers for these new realities.

Engineering faculty at MU started to develop an sustainable nanotechnology program for undergraduate students. We are developing a new course and laboratory modules through environmental nanotechnology research to integrate them into the existing engineering curriculum. Research activities related to sustainable nanotechnology and challenges in sustainable engineering education were discussed. By integrating the sustainable nanotechnology research into the undergraduate curriculum, students will develop an understanding of the impact of engineering solutions in a sustainable global context. The proposed activities will help achieve our long-term goals to for training new generation of engineers.

In modern society, sustainable development is a universal theme of humanity's future. Sustainable development encompasses three general areas: economic, environmental and social. In essence, we need to find the right balance between economic development, the benefit of society and concern for the environment, together with a notion of intergenerational equity.

Hu, Z. (2008, June), Sustainable Nanotechnology Education For Engineers Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3356

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