"South Africa, as a developing nation, has much to benefit from nanotechnology. We therefore have to create an environment conducive to harnessing the potential benefits of this promising field of science." These were the words of Science and Technology Minister, Mr Mosibudi Mangena, at the launch of South Africa's first two national nanotechnology innovation centres. The launch took place at the CSIR in November.
Nanotechnology is the almost-invisible science of construction on scales of a billionth of a metre. It involves making things using beams, girders, pumps and wheels just one millionth of a millimetre long. Nanoelectronics has enormous applications, particularly in computing. But there's more.
The days of wearing clothes that only provide protection against the elements seem to be numbered - thanks to nanotechnology that is.
Harmony Gold Mining and Mintek announced the entry of Harmony into Project AuTEK, a pioneering initiative to pursue research into new industrial uses for gold. Harmony now joins AngloGold, Gold Fields and Mintek as partners in this exciting venture which has generated world-wide interest.
Due to their potential fire hazard, polymer-based building materials, other than paints, are traditionally not commonplace on a building site. If researchers at the CSIR have it their way, that is bound to change through the inclusion of clay nanoparticles.