Different substances and their properties
The table shows some of the units used to measure length. As you go down the table, each unit is 1,000 times smaller than the one above it.
|Unit name||Unit symbol||Meaning|
|gigametre||Gm||one billion metres|
|megametre||Mm||one million metres|
|kilometre||km||one thousand metres|
|millimetre||mm||one thousandth of a metre|
|micrometre||µm||one millionth of a metre|
|nanometre||nm||one billionth of a metre|
Nanoparticles range in size from about 100 nm down to about 1 nm. They are typically the size of small molecules, and far too small to see with a microscope.
Working with nanoparticles is called nanotechnology.
Nanoparticles have a very large surface area compared with their volume. So they are often able to react very quickly. This makes them useful as catalysts to speed up reactions. For example, they can be used in self-cleaning ovens and windows.
Nanoparticles also have different properties to the same substance in normal-sized pieces. For example, titanium dioxide is a white solid used in house paint and certain sweet-coated chocolates. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles are so small they do not reflect visible light, so cannot be seen. They are used in sunblock creams to block harmful ultraviolet light without appearing white on the skin.
Nanoscience may lead to the development of:
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