About the sector - EUON
Manufacturing - Overview - About the sector Text
Nanomaterial manufacturing involves methods to synthesise nanomaterials and can be classified as top-down and bottom-up approaches. In top-down methods, the bulk material is transformed into nano-sized particles. Although simple to apply, these methods are not very effective for manufacturing extremely small and irregularly shaped nanoparticles. In bottom-up approach, nanomaterials with well-defined chemical composition, size, and shape are formed through the growth and self-assembly of atoms and molecules as their building blocks. Synthesis methods for nanomaterials are often chosen based on the availability of primary materials, facilities, potential application of nanomaterials, and other environmental and economic restrictions.1
Top-down approaches are predominantly being used to manufacture nanomaterials, whereas bottom-up methods are less widely used despite their ability to achieve better reaction rates and produce bespoke nanomaterials. However, all these existing approaches have issues with regard to sustainability, such as the energy required to purify precursors, reagents, and solvents or to create specialised environments (high temperature or ultralight vacuum). In addition, these methods either use or produce hazardous or toxic chemicals. Bioinspired routes are emerging solutions that can be a sustainable way to produce high-value nanomaterials. However, these methods are still impractical for industrial applications due to the scarcity of biological agents, and further work on scalability, economics and compatibility with wider manufacturing techniques is required.2
The manufacture of nanomaterials through cost-effective routes is another challenge. The production of high-quality nanomaterials usually requires sophisticated instrumentation and harsh conditions, which limits their large-scale production. Most of the methods that have been used for large-scale production are low cost, and they often generate defective and low-quality nanomaterials. More efforts are required to develop new synthesis methods that overcome the challenges associated with conventional methods.3
1 Abid, N., Khan, A. M., Shujait, S., Chaudhary, K., Ikram, M., Imran, M., ... & Maqbool, M. (2021). Synthesis of nanomaterials using various top-down and bottom-up approaches, influencing factors, advantages, and disadvantages: A review. Advances in Colloid and Interface Science, 102597.
2 Patwardhan, S. V., Manning, J. R., & Chiacchia, M. (2018). Bioinspired synthesis as a potential green method for the preparation of nanomaterials: Opportunities and challenges. Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, 12, 110-116.
3 Baig, N., Kammakakam, I., & Falath, W. (2021). Nanomaterials: A review of synthesis methods, properties, recent progress, and challenges. Materials Advances, 2(6), 1821-1871.