Nanotechnology and Consumer Products - Opportunities for Nanotechnology in Consumer Products

Topics Covered

Adhesives, Lubricants and Abrasives
Food Packaging
Surface Treatments


Nanomaterials are finding their way into consumer products more and more. Consumer product manufacturers gain a huge benefit by introducing small amounts of nanomaterials in their products. The introduction of such nanomaterials either enhances the existing properties or gives rise to new properties.

Key benefits from nanotechnology are seen in materials such as:

  • Adhesives
  • Lubricants
  • Abrasives
  • Food packaging
  • Manufactured devices
  • Surface treatments
  • Architectural surfaces
  • Glasses

Adhesives, Lubricants and Abrasives

The field of industrial materials - often complex particles dispersed in polymers or other solvents - is an important area of nanotechnology development. In international markets, companies like NanoGate are leading the way in designing and producing fluids and waxes with enhanced properties derived from nanoscale additives. Nanotechnology can make a big impact in these products, which typically involve small amounts of a specialty product that has a larger impact on a manufacturing or operating system.

The interfacial phenomenon of adhesion, lubrication, and abrasion can be incorporated into materials systems using nanoparticle properties. Examples include nanoparticle cross-linking agents in adhesives, hard abrasive nanoparticles for fine polishing of engineering surfaces, and spherical nanoparticles such as molybdenum sulphide for lubricating surfaces.

Food Packaging

The freshness of foodstuffs and the contamination of packaged foods with allergens such as nuts and wheat is a topic of increasing public concern. The use of nanotechnology in food packaging can offer a number of advantages to overcome these issues, either by using advanced materials to lengthen the shelf life or “smart” packaging which can detect when specific substances are present. However, it is also critical to ensure that consumers are aware of any nanotechnology-based packaging to enable them to make an informed decision when purchasing foods and beverages.

Surface Treatments

Nanoscale properties are evident only in the surfaces of bulk materials. The development of new surface properties for familiar materials is an exciting growth opportunity for nanotechnology firms. Local and international companies are developing surface treatments which enhance and exploit the surface properties by leveraging nanoscale features. Laser, plasma and chemical treatments are particularly important in this regard.

Many material properties relate to the surface of a material rather than the bulk material, enabling a modification in performance with a coating system. Nanoparticle coatings often make use of the transparent nature of nanoparticles to incorporate an engineering property to a material without altering its appearance.

Nanotechnology coatings enable the modification of polymeric, metallic, and ceramic materials to impart properties such as electrical conductivity, scratch and wear resistance, crazing resistance, environmental durability improvements, adhesion enhancement, change in refractive index, to name a few.


A thin coating of nanomaterial on a glass has the following effects:

  • The amount of light that transmits through the glass could be controlled
  • UV absorption
  • Allowing only light while cutting-off heat, thus helping in energy saving
  • Tinting
  • Self-cleaning

This content was provided by NanoVic (Nanotechnology Victoria)

Copyright Nanotechnology Victoria,

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