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Welcome to our blog, where you can keep up-to-date with the latest P2i news and developments. We will post articles regarding news, events we attend, speaker presentations as well as explaining the nanotechnology industry.

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Thursday, 29 November 2012

How small is small?

If you have visited p2i.com, seen our collateral or even watched our videos then you will be aware that we refer to our technology as 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. Which is pretty small, but exactly how small is small?

In this post we will look at how small nanometres really are, as well as posting some interesting facts.


What is small?

The word nano originates from the Greek word for dwarf, but today, the term nano more commonly refers to anything that is 'incrediblly small' or to be precise - one billionth (10-9) times smaller than a metre.

To put this into perspective the smallest object visible to the naked human eye is a single strand of human hair, anything smaller than that and we need the help of microscopes to see them. And even more sophisticated and expensive microscopes are required before building blocks such as hydrogen atoms become visible. In fact, you would need to line up 10 hydrogen atoms in a row just to equal one nanometre!

Powers of Ten:

To measure size, either large or small, the calculations required to do so are done in powers of ten, as you can see below:


To get our heads around this subject in a more understandable way, in 1997 a video was produced which takes the viewer on a journey of magintudes. Called Powers of Ten, the video is still very influential today. Every 10 seconds the viewing point starts from ten times further away, eventually reaching the edge of the known galaxy. At this point we then return to Earth at the same speed, ending inside one of the smallest objects visible; a carbon atom. It is a great representation of scale in comparasion to our own size as human beings and you can watch it below:


More recently, a modern version of this video has been produced narrated by Morgan Freeman which you can see here:


Some interesting facts:

We have all heard of red blood cells and DNA, but have you ever wondered how small they actually are? Below are some of these objects and their relative size:
  • Grain of Rice =  1 Millimeter
  • Red Blood Cell =  5-7 Microns in length (5000 Red blood cells would fit into 1 inch)
  • DNA = 1 Micron
  • Common Cold Virus = 0.0001 Micron or 75-100nm wide
Did you know that the average human finger nail grows at around 1 nanometer(nm) per second? And if your were able to strech a meter a distance of 1690 miles (roughly the same distance as Melbourne to Perth in Australia), a nanometre would only be the size of a parecetol or asprin tablet.

So as you can see, when we talk about the nanoscale, we are working in incredibly small dimensions.

P2i's nano-coating technology:

It is amazing to know that so much activity is going on, on scales of size that are sometimes hard to comprehend.

Our coating, which is measured in nanometers is molecularly bonded to products surfaces inside and out, offering superior liquid repellency. As mentioned earlier, the coating is 1000 times thinner than a human hair and invisible to the naked eye, in fact it is so small that it does not change the look or feel of the surface it is applied to.

You can find out more about our technology here as well as seeing how it is applied in the following video:


As always, if you have any questions about nanotechnology or our coating, just ask.

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