GeoNano Technologies (Pty) Ltd is a Technology supplier, a Technology ‘designer’, product manufacturer and Research and Development company specialising in the adaptation of existing globally accepted construction standards incorporating "New Age Modified Emulsions"(NME), sometimes known as Nano Modified Emulsions. Our specialist fields include Soil stabilisation, Road Seals, Road Maintenance, Dust Suppressant’s, structural waterproofing and the capitalisation of waste material. Our approach is ‘not’ in ‘re-designing the wheel’, but innovatively remodelling traditionally accepted construction methods, assimilating proven ‘Chemistry’ and ‘Science’. By Incorporating these technologies, we can now successfully build more affordable moisture resistant structures which are stronger, more flexible and longer lasting, using ‘naturally’ available materials WITHOUT the use of cementitious products that are hydrophilic in nature and contribute to material weathering, brittleness and cracking. Our team has in excess of 100 years of experience in related industry, including Civil, Engineering, Construction, Minerology, Science, Chemistry, Polymer and Silane modification as well as in-house Material specialists. Our Research and Development facility incorporates a full soil testing laboratory with all the ‘state of the art’ equipment required to duplicate ‘in field’ results and scenarios. We have aligned ourselves with the top leaders in their fields both locally and globally including Professors, Doctors, Scientists, Chemists and Engineers as well as Universities that share our passion in the field of ‘superiority’ and improving the standards of fineness. GeoNano proudly supports various University from 1st year, Phd and Master's degrees that wish to understand and further their knowledge and education in the field of NME Technologies.
Nano - technology
What Is Nano-Technology ?
Comparison: Bitumen particles are approximately 5000nm in size!! Nano-Silane technology is approximately 4-6nm in size or smaller!! Nano-Polymer technology is approximately 60-70nm in size!! Therefore: 1ml of Nano will have the same ‘If not greater’ coverage area than 1lt of Bitumen!!
1 nanometre is to a tennis ball what a tennis ball is to the earth.
Nano-technology is now spearheading a revolution in road construction to reduce the cost of constructing and maintaining road infrastructure, and thus enable limited funding to finance the construction, maintenance and rehabilitation of more kilometers of roads than is possible without using nano-technology; furthermore, roads constructed and maintained with nano-technology have higher performance characteristics and longer service lives.
The Use Of Nano-Technology In Road Building Materials.
Prof GJ Jordaan, Pr Eng
The use of nanotechnology to improve specifically designed characteristics of materials without understanding the basic concept of nanotechnologies, can be compared to the driving of a car without wheels and no knowledge of where the ignition switch, clutch, gears breaking pedal and acceleration pedals are, but to know it can be used to move more effectively. The basic concepts entrenched in nanotechnologies are far removed from the normally expected “understanding” of pavement engineers of traditionally stabilising agents and their application. For example, water-proofing of materials means just that – the surface properties of the material molecules are chemically changed to reject water and make it (for example) more attractive to oil based materials (or for that matter any other stabilising agents, depending on the design criteria and the properties of the molecule that is being altered) ensuring better adhesive properties and hence, the use of much smaller percentages of “traditional” road building stabilising agents. Depending on the basic mineralogy of the material involved (basic mineral composition) the dosage and/or composition of the water-proofing nanotechnology to be applied may change.
These basic concepts of the application nanotechnologies have been proven all over the world using materials in general use that is now becoming available through numerous applications (e.g. water-proofing of concrete/cement structures that enhances the effect of paint on buildings etc. The water-proofing will not replace the binding properties of the cement, but will prevent water penetration, improve the adhesion of the paint and result in a considerable longer maintenance periods, in addition, nano-technology can also be applied to the pained surface to prevent water damage, negate the effect of Ultra-Violet radiation and even adhesion of other “unwanted” materials such as mud.) The example of Ultra Violet protection also have a direct impact on road construction and maintenance, where the “aging” effect of bituminous products exposed to Ultra Violet radiation is the prime reason for the change in material properties of bituminous surface materials. The exposure to Ultra Violet radiation (especially severe a higher altitudes) results in the rapid depletion of volatiles at the top of the surfacing layer, leading to the surfacing material becoming brittle, resulting in temperature (climate) associated deterioration. This material deterioration ultimately results into hairline cracking of the surfacing and the need of periodic preventative maintenance in terms of re-surfacings. This resurfacing of roads is an essential part of asset preservation to prevent secondary distress on these roads in terms of surface cracking, water ingress and damage to the pavement structure and the formation of pot-holes. The neglecting of the basic periodic maintenance resurfacing programmes as part of the output from Asset Management Systems (in this case Pavement Management Systems (PMMs)) has been shown (SANRAL) to have severe consequences in terms of cost implications to the road agencies, vehicle operating costs and hence, the economy as a whole.
It follows that specifically designed nanotechnologies to “water-proof “materials will not necessarily improve the inter-particle binding properties of any specific material. The nano-treated materials will repel any water molecules, not allowing it to penetrate the material and, the water will disperse (if there is a slope) or collect as a droplet(s) on top of the material. Additional characteristics for the binding together of material particles will be achieved through the application of another nanotechnology product specifically designed to bind the materials together with or without traditionally low-cost pavement engineering stabilising argents (that is to say if the material grading and other properties in itself is not able to provide the binding characteristics required for the material for the specific application). Due to the much improved binding properties the “water-proofing” of the material will often negate the negative reactions of many minerals encountered in the natural occurring materials. Hence, costly “premature” and unexpected failure can be prevented, while at the same time, much lower applications of the stabilising agent will be required to achieve the minimum design criteria currently specified in design documents. The addition of a nanotechnology binder will, in addition, result in the coating and binding together of soil particles using nano-size molecules (or even atoms) that have the advantage of:
• Much improved coverage due to the nano-scale of the molecules (compare the size of a bitumen molecule that is in the order of 5000 nm in size to some nano-binders that are 5 nm in size (this size differences means that the same coverage can be achieved by 1 litre of nano-binder than that of 100 litres of a traditionally used unmodified bitumen binder). The objective of the introduction of nanotechnologies in the field of the pavement engineering is to first negate any negative effect of water (that is known to be problematic with most of our naturally occurring road building materials throughout southern Africa. (According to Weinert (1980): “The geological and climatic conditions of southern Africa favour the formation of Montmorillonite clays and it is advisable to expect montmorillonite in every clay soil until the contrary has been ascertained.”);
• Much improved adhesion due to the change in the surface molecule structure which will enable the binder better access to the minerals (forming the natural occurring materials) it is aiming to bind together. Hence, considerable lower applications of “traditionally” used stabilising agents can be used to meet the design strength criteria generally used to assess the use of materials for road construction purposes.
The mineralogy of natural occurring road construction materials vary considerable depending of the basic rock formations, and climatic conditions (as previously discussed). Hence, it can be expected that the best application and most effective nanotechnologies to be used will also vary as a function of the mineralogy present in the material. The decision with regard to the best “formula” to be used will be the object of an intensive research programme initiated at the University of Pretoria. Basic inputs to the formula to obtain the best results for the enhancement of naturally occurring materials with, inter alia, include the:
• Traditionally empirically derived material characteristics used to classify road building materials ( in South Africa, the G1 to G10 classification according to the draft TRH14) with some enhancements such as the Plasticity Index (PI) of the fraction of the material passing the 0.075 mm sieve;
• XRD scans of the material to scientifically determine the minerology present in the material, and more important the minerals present due to weathering, decomposition and metamorphic processes and influences through the eons, (refer to the proposed XRD scan protocol in this paper) and
• Chemical understanding of the characteristics of the nanotechnologies designed to change the surface characteristics of the various minerals and the different effect on different minerals to make it more responsive to positive enhancement (stabilisation) processes, etc.
The understanding of the above basic concepts will, without doubt, lead to the improved use of locally available materials for the construction of much needed surfaced road infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa as a primary goal. The use of these technologies will, together with appropriate criteria (Jordaan and Kilian, 2016), have a considerable effect on the life-cycle cost of the provision of much needed surfaced transportation network throughout Africa. Initial estimates (depending of on the basic mineral properties and in-situ conditions) show an achievable saving of more than 50 per cent in the provision of a surfaced transportation infrastructure to be not unrealistic and ever conservative.
This research and subsequent results will off-course, not be limited to the sub-continent only but, will have world wide application and have the potential to be a “game changer”, especially in regions currently experiencing a hugh backlog in terms of a surfaced road –network compared to that of the rest of the world. Available funds are just not adequate to change the current back-log using traditional methods of material and road construction technologies. A considerable change in engineering thinking is requires, starting with the application of already available technologies also in the normally conservative field of pavement engineering to make an impact of communities and to ensure that a continent such as Africa reaches its full potential. The challenge is not to think (quote) “outside the box”, but to realise that there is no box (unquote) – that is engineering and that will lead to progress!
Nano Modified Emulsions/Nano Modified Polymers.
Road infrastructure is absolutely essential for promoting and sustaining national economy and socio-economic of any country, as well as for facilitating access to essential social service facilities for its population, but construction and maintenance of road infrastructure using current conventional technology is so expensive that most countries, particularly third-world countries, cannot afford adequate routine maintenance of their roads or construct sufficient new roads. This environmentally-friendly technology, from which many countries around the world are already benefiting is essential to facilitating more extensive provision and maintenance of both rural and urban road infrastructure than can be achieved with conventional road technology for the same available funds.
The implementation of NME’s for roads engenders the following economic and engineering benefits over conventional technology:
1. NME’s and NMP’s maximizes the use of local in-situ and nearby soils and rocks, thus reducing adverse environmental impacts and the expensive process of excavation, disposal and haulage involved in the replacement of poor quality local soils with good quality foreign soils and rocks.
2. NME’s and NMP’s specifically targets problematic materials, particularly clays to counteract their destructive potential to roads.
3. Roads constructed using NME’s and NMP’s. have higher load-bearing capacities and significantly higher flexibility, elasticity, durability, heat-resistance, solar radiation-resistance, moisture-resistance, water-proofing, and therefore, higher performance and longer service life, and subsequently, the potential for longer rehabilitation intervals.
4. NME’s and NMP’s are applicable to the construction and maintenance of all classes of roads, i.e., rural, urban and national roads.
5. NME’s and NMP’s are fully compatible with conventional equipment and road-construction materials. Nano-technology agents are used together with conventional road-construction materials or as customised additives to conventional road-construction materials, such as cement and bitumen stabilizers, primers, and aggregate binders to make the modified chemicals more effective on the location where it is applied.
6. Only very small proportions of Nano-technology additives are needed to modify a bulk road-construction substrate, e.g., typically 1% or less of volume of substrate, which is equivalent to one or two teaspoons of additive to a liter of substrate, combined with lots more water than conventional dilution, thus leading to a much larger volume of enhanced substrate for application over a larger extent of road.
7. Due to the aforementioned benefits, NME’s and NMP’s lead to significantly reduced construction, maintenance and rehabilitation costs.
8. Nano-technology has been subjected to extensive research and development and it is approved and adopted in many countries around the world in all sorts of climates and soil types, since it is customizable.
The ultimate economic and performance results of using nano-technology is much lower costs of construction, routine maintenance and repair and enhanced performance, durability and service life for roads, which leads to longer intervals between rehabilitation and reconstruction, which are the most costly and disruptive aspects of providing sustainable roads.