Prospects of Nanomaterials and Ceramic Engineering
Bangladesh is striving to leverage on Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) in order to accelerate its economic development. Nanotechnology and advanced materials are key elements that provide the physical basis to support IR4.0. Indeed, the Perspective Plan of Bangladesh 2021-2041 identifies nano-based materials as key enablers (PERSPECTIVE PLAN OF BANGLADESH). Nanomaterials technology has a big potential to solve some of the pressing problems of the country and to advance its industry. Industrial sectors which can benefit from nanomaterials technology include energy, environmental remediation, pharmaceuticals healthcare, agriculture, food, cosmetics etc.
In the recent past, Bangladesh has established itself as an important global player in ceramic manufacturing. Bangladesh-made ceramic products are used in some of the most famous royal households of the world, which is a testimony to their quality. Moving into the future, the ceramic industry of Bangladesh is poised to adopt IR4.0, energy efficient and environmentally friendly technologies to keep pace with the global trend and to remain competitive. This industry is also coming up with nanotechnology enabled products, for example, germ resistant tiles are already in the market. The ceramic industry is in the dire need of qualified engineer with specialized knowledge to embrace the future.
There is a great enthusiasm about the new undergraduate program in Nanomaterials and Ceramic Engineering among industry leaders representing ceramics, glass, cement industry as well as those adopting nanomaterials enabled products e.g., pharmaceutical, textile industry.
What you will study
The undergraduate curriculum of Nanomaterials and Ceramic Engineering (NCE) at BUET is intended to provide you with a solid foundation and a diverse and rich exposure to advanced technologies to take up future challenges both at home and abroad. This background will prepare you for jobs in the traditional as well as high tech industry and make you eligible for higher studies in high-ranking universities across the globe. Salient features of the curriculum include:
• Sound foundation in science and engineering principles.
• Solid base in materials science and engineering covering all major classes of materials e.g., ceramics, glasses, metals, polymers, electronic materials, biomaterials, energy materials, environmentally friendly materials etc.
• Synthesis of nanomaterials using both top down and bottom-up approaches.
• Characterization of materials at the near atomic dimension using most sophisticated techniques like electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, spectroscopy, thermal analyzer, optical and magnetic measurement etc.
• Advanced structural ceramics and electro-ceramics, in addition to traditional ceramics, glass, cement, refractories etc.
• Nanomaterials for energy convention and storage, electronics, photonics, magnetic, biomedical etc. applications.
• Fabrication of smart structures, components, and devices for applications in electronics, sensor, energy, water treatment, environmental remediation etc.
• Modeling and simulation.
• Engineering management, sustainability, exposure to engineering practice through industrial training, capstone design project etc.
• Undergraduate research using most sophisticated nanomaterials synthesis and characterization tools.
• Exposure to innovation and entrepreneurship to convert ideas into solutions or products, thus exploring possibilities of creating impact through start-ups.
Career for Nanomaterials and Ceramic Graduates
Graduates in Nanomaterials can work in the following areas:
• Ceramics Industry
• Glass Industry
• Cement Industry
• Electronics/semiconductor industry
• Energy capture and storage
• Environment monitoring, control, remediation
• Textiles, polymer, packaging
• Nanomaterials Industry
• Chemicals Industry
• Auto and aerospace industries
• Medicine, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology
• Agriculture, food science
• Forensic, military and national security
• Resource management
• University and lab research
Job profiles for nanomaterials professionals:
• Applications Engineer
• Director of Product Marketing
• Manufacturing Engineer
• Director of Research
• Optical Engineer
• Product Marketing Engineer
• Technical Program Manager
• Research Scientist
• Research & Development Engineers
• Product Marketing Manager
Applications of Nanomaterials and Ceramics in various sectors
Nanomaterials have revolutionized the fields of material science and engineering by offering unique physical, chemical, and mechanical properties that are not observed in their bulk counterparts. These materials, with dimensions ranging from 1 to 100 nanometers, have unique optical, electronic, and catalytic properties due to their high surface area to volume ratio, quantum confinement effects, and surface reactivity.
The synthesis and processing of nanomaterials involve several techniques such as chemical vapor deposition, sol-gel, hydrothermal synthesis, and ball milling. These techniques allow precise control over the size, shape, and structure of the nanomaterials, making it possible to tailor their properties for specific applications.
Nanomaterials find applications in diverse fields such as electronics, energy, biomedical, and environmental engineering. For example, nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes, graphene, and metal oxide nanoparticles are being used in the development of high-performance batteries, solar cells, and supercapacitors. In electronics, nanomaterials are used in the development of conductive inks, transparent conductive films, and sensors.
Nanomaterials have also shown great potential in the biomedical field, where they are used for drug delivery, bioimaging, and tissue engineering. For instance, liposomal nanocarriers have been used for targeted drug delivery to cancer cells, and gold nanoparticles have been used as contrast agents in medical imaging.
In environmental engineering, nanomaterials are used in water treatment, air purification, and pollution monitoring. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles, for instance, are used in the photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants, and carbon nanotubes are used in the development of efficient water filtration membranes.
The synthesis and processing of nanomaterials have enabled the development of materials with unique properties that find applications in a wide range of fields. The precise control over their properties and tailored synthesis approaches make them attractive for future advancements in material science and engineering.
Nanomaterials for 4IR
Nanomaterials are closely connected to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) because they enable the development of new and innovative products and processes in various industries. 4IR refers to the integration of advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and the internet of things, into manufacturing and other industries. Nanomaterials can be used to create new materials with enhanced properties, such as increased strength, durability, and conductivity, which can improve the performance and efficiency of products and processes.
In addition, nanotechnology plays a significant role in the development of sensors and other advanced materials that are essential for the 4IR. Nanosensors, for example, can be used to monitor and control various parameters in industrial processes, while nanocomposites can be used to develop lightweight and durable materials for use in manufacturing and transportation.
Moreover, the use of nanotechnology in the development of new materials and products can lead to the creation of new industries and jobs. It can also provide a significant boost to the economy by improving productivity, reducing costs, and increasing competitiveness.
Therefore, the integration of nanomaterials into various industries is an important aspect of the 4IR, which has the potential to revolutionize the way we live and work.
Ceramic materials and composites play a crucial role in the aerospace industry due to their high resilience in extreme operating conditions. They are used in various components of aircraft, missiles, spacecraft, and satellites, requiring properties such as low weight, high mechanical strength, thermal shock resistance, resistance to cosmic radiation, and high electrical insulating capacity. High-purity, monolithic oxide and non-oxide ceramic materials such as Al2O3, ZrO2, AlN, SiC, Si3N4, ferrites, and fiber composites are commonly used in these applications.
Motorized vehicles require high reliability and cost efficiency. Technical ceramics provide solutions to meet specific application requirements, including mechanical strength, tribological properties, and resistance to temperature changes and chemical corrosion. Monolithic ceramic materials, composites, piezoceramics, and magnetoceramics are used for their durability and optimized for specific applications. Non-oxide ceramic fibre composites are used in brake disks, offering high wear resistance and long service life.
Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals
In chemical and pharmaceutical engineering, equipment can face high stresses from temperature, pressure, corrosion, and abrasion. This leads to short service lifetimes and costly downtime for metallic materials in contact with products. Ceramic materials, both oxide and non-oxide based, can be a suitable alternative for designers with knowledge of application conditions. They can withstand high temperatures and exhibit high corrosion resistance, influenced by chemical composition and microstructure. Tailored ceramic materials can be optimized for specific corrosive loads. Both oxide and non-oxide ceramics are used successfully in aggressive conditions and for processing active ingredients in the pharmaceutical industry, with appropriate regulatory certification.
Technical ceramics have become essential components in the construction and control of sophisticated machinery, plants, and equipment with electro-technical assemblies. They offer a wide range of electrical conductivity, spanning more than 15 orders of magnitude, which makes them unique compared to other materials. Technical ceramics are used in various applications, such as λ sensors in automotive engineering, vacuum chambers of particle accelerators, and actuators in motion detectors. These ceramics possess other non-electrical properties such as mechanical strength, thermal resistance, thermal shock resistance, and corrosion resistance. Ceramic components in electrotechnical assemblies demand high or ultrahigh vacuum tightness and acceptable mechanical strength for use in the field, such as in Al2O3 ceramics.
In power engineering, minimizing resource consumption and environmental impact while maximizing efficiency is a primary objective. Ceramic materials and coatings play a crucial role in achieving this objective by providing high mechanical, chemical, and thermal stress resistance in energy-efficient plants and machinery. For instance, they are used as cation-conducting ceramics in low-loss high-power batteries, as corrosion-resistant dielectrics in molten carbonate fuel cells, and as ceramic coatings in the hot gas area of stationary gas turbines. The materials used must meet strict requirements such as mechanical stability, wear resistance, and thermal shock resistance. These ceramics can be modified to suit specific conditions through changes in their chemical composition and microstructure. A wide range of oxide and non-oxide ceramics, ceramic composites, coatings, and magnetoceramics, including superconducting ceramic coatings, are currently available or being developed.
The glass industry finds a wide range of applications across various sectors. In the construction industry, it is used for windows, doors, facades, and structural glazing. The automotive industry uses it for windshields, mirrors, and headlights. The electronics industry requires glass for display screens, touch panels, and semiconductors. In the medical sector, it is used for lab equipment and medical devices. The packaging industry requires glass for bottles and jars for food, beverage, and pharmaceuticals. The art and decoration industry also use glass for sculptures, ornaments, and stained glass windows. The versatility of glass has led to its extensive use in various applications.
There is plenty of opportunity to engineer the properties of glass to meet specific demands. Low emissivity glass is designed to reflect heat back into a room, reducing the need for heating and saving energy. Solar control glass is made to reflect the sun's heat and UV radiation, allowing for a more comfortable and energy-efficient environment. Insulating glass is created by using two or more panes of glass with a vacuum or gas-filled space in between, reducing heat loss and noise pollution. Safety glass is produced by laminating two or more sheets of glass together with a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) interlayer, making it difficult to break and reducing the risk of injury in the event of an accident. Privacy glass is manufactured by adding a special coating or film to the glass, making it opaque and preventing people from seeing through it. These special glasses are widely used in modern architecture, automobiles, electronics, and solar energy systems, making our lives more comfortable, energy-efficient, and safe.
The production and engineering of glass involve high-temperature processes that require equipment components with high load resistance, especially in the presence of molten glass. To meet these demands, Al2O3 and ZrO2 ceramics are commonly used for measurement and control purposes, and for specific gas supply in glass melting furnaces. These ceramics have a purity of over 99.5%, enabling their cost-efficient operation in oxidizing and reducing conditions, even at temperatures above 1500°C. The ceramics' grain boundary phase can be selectively adjusted to enhance their corrosion resistance and behaviour on contact with molten glass. High-grade oxide ceramic materials satisfy the thermal strength, thermal shock resistance, corrosion resistance, creep resistance and dimensional stability, and abrasion resistance requirements of glass melting equipment. Selectively doped Al2O3 ceramic, for example, enhances its hardness and abrasion resistance with the incorporation of Cr3+ ions.
Nanomaterials in Bangladesh
Nanotechnology and nanomaterials have been gaining attention in various industries in Bangladesh. One such industry is textiles, where nanomaterials are being used to produce high-performance fabrics with enhanced properties such as water and stain resistance, UV protection, and antimicrobial properties.
Nanomaterials are also being explored for their potential applications in agriculture. Researchers at various institutions have been studying the use of nanomaterials to improve crop yields, control pests and diseases, and reduce environmental pollution from agrochemicals.
The medical industry is another sector in Bangladesh where nanomaterials are being researched and applied. Scientists are exploring the use of nanoparticles for drug delivery and diagnostic purposes. For instance, nanocarriers can be used to transport drugs to specific targets in the body and improve their efficacy while minimizing side effects.
Overall, nanomaterials have shown great potential for various industries in Bangladesh, and ongoing research and development efforts are expected to yield more innovative applications in the future.
Some recent developments on the usage of nanomaterials and
nanotechnology in Bangladesh:
- "Nanotechnology to boost Bangladesh's economic growth" - The Financial Express: https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/views/nanotechnology-to-boost-bangladeshs-economic-growth-1559629577
- "Bangladesh to introduce nanotechnology in energy, medicine and agriculture" - The Business Standard: https://tbsnews.net/sci-tech/bangladesh-introduce-nanotechnology-energy-medicine-and-agriculture-273918
- "Nanotechnology helps reduce dependence on expensive imported raw materials" - Dhaka Tribune: https://www.dhakatribune.com/business/2020/01/05/nanotechnology-helps-reduce-dependence-on-expensive-imported-raw-materials
- "Nanotechnology to ensure food safety in Bangladesh" - The Financial Express: https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/trade/nanotechnology-to-ensure-food-safety-in-bangladesh-1632114976
- "Bangladesh bets on nanotechnology" - an article by the Asia Times that discusses how Bangladesh is utilizing nanotechnology in various industries, including textiles, healthcare, and agriculture: https://asiatimes.com/2019/11/bangladesh-bets-on-nanotechnology/
- "Nanotechnology to bring revolution in Bangladesh's textile industry" - an article by the Dhaka Tribune that discusses the use of nanotechnology in the textile industry in Bangladesh: https://www.dhakatribune.com/business/2019/08/08/nanotechnology-to-bring-revolution-in-bangladesh-s-textile-industry
- "Nanotechnology in Food Industry: Bangladesh Perspective" (2021) - This research paper explores the use of nanomaterials in food packaging, storage, and processing in Bangladesh. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/351351792_Nanotechnology_in_Food_Industry_Bangladesh_ Perspective
- "Applications of nanotechnology in water treatment: A review on current status and future prospects in Bangladesh" (2020) - This study discusses the potential of nanomaterials for water treatment applications in Bangladesh, including the removal of heavy metals and organic contaminants.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405452620316906
- "Nanotechnology-Based Approaches in Cancer Treatment: A Review on Current Status and Future Prospect in Bangladesh" (2021) - This research paper explores the potential of nanomaterials for cancer treatment in Bangladesh, including targeted drug delivery and imaging https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8479255/
- "Utilization of Nanotechnology in Construction Materials and Its Applicability in Bangladesh" (2018) - This paper examines the potential of nanomaterials in the construction industry in Bangladesh for enhancing the mechanical and thermal properties of materials.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323158456_Utilization_of_Nanotechnology_in_ Construction_Materials_and_Its_Applicability_in_Bangladesh