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The Potential for Nanotechnology to Improve Community Resilience through Better Building Materials, Sensors, and Medical Applications

Nanotechnology is an emerging technology that has the potential to improve community resilience. Improving resilience begins in the pre-disaster phase of the disaster management cycle. This phase is located between disaster events and is where mitigation and prevention activities occur. A brief survey was conducted of relevant literature to identify the role that nanotechnology could potentially fill in disaster preparedness. Three primary uses for nanotechnology to build community resilience that stand out as the most practical and eminent are in the areas of building materials, sensors, and medicine. Applications of nanotechnology to building materials include the development of concrete that is stronger and would require less steel-reinforcement, thus making safer buildings, dams, and bridges. In regards to sensors, nanotechnology could be used to develop detection systems that could sense trace amounts of chemical and biological agents before they reached lethal concentrations and could lead to earlier evacuations of residents. Medical applications of nanotechnology include improvements in rapid diagnostics and vaccines that would improve public health decision-making and reduce the spread of disease. Stronger infrastructure, early warning, and better medical response have the potential to significantly reduce injuries, illness, and deaths. The integration of nanotechnology into the disaster management cycle, particularly in the pre-disaster phase, could revolutionize how disasters are managed and how community resilience can be strengthened.


Gregory P Nichols

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