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The Ohio Nanotechnology Commercialization Initiative

This initiative, which has been funded by both The Ohio Department of Development and the Propulsion Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), is to expand the awareness and understanding of nanotechnology by Ohio's plastics industry. The initiative is specifically focused on nanotechnologies developed by AFRL and Ohio-based companies. Seminars, which introduce the concepts of nanotechnology to the plastics industry, are being presented to various companies, trade organizations, and scientific/engineering societies. In addition a brochure describing the function and use of nano-materials with plastics has been prepared and is being distributed.

Nanotechnologies Brochure

(Downloadable PDF)

The plastics industry is a major component of Ohio's economy. More than 2,500 Ohio companies are involved in the plastics industry, and they account for over 120,000 jobs with $3.7 billion in annual wages. And they have $980 billion in capital investment. Making companies aware of emerging technology is a prime method of keeping Ohio's plastics industry strong and competitive.

Nanotechnology is one of the most important emerging technologies for the next thirty years. It will change information technology, biotechnology, materials and manufacturing -just about everything- including our personal and social health. Nanotechnology is the science of small. The term "nanotechnology" comes from nanometer, which is one-billionth of a meter long. This unit of length is roughly the width of five atoms across and is 10,000-25,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Materials with dimensions in the nanometer range have the ability to intimately interact on the molecular level with other molecules such as macromolecules (polymers), resulting in unique physical, chemical, and electrical properties. The materials scientist has continuously sought to improve the properties of existing polymers by blending with fillers or alloying with other polymers. The emerging field of nanotechnology has now given the materials scientist new tools to greatly improve the properties of existing plastics and to make new plastics with dramatically improved properties.

The Wright Technology Network (WTN) has a special technology transfer role with the Air Force as the Partnership Intermediary for AFRL at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The State of Ohio supports the AFRL-WTN partnership and, through technology commercialization initiatives like this one, has asked WTN to help ensure the global competitiveness of Ohio industries.

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