Today we continue with our Research Blog instalments to learn what nanotechnology is and its role in soil stabilization to understand the specialization of Dyanan, with whom Concentrol has started a strategic business relationship. We have dedicated previous instalments to explaining Dyanan’s areas of work and the commercial relationship with Concentrol, as well as the problems and challenges to be faced.

We speak of nanotechnology to refer to the science that studies matter in a microscopic size, a scale where materials behave in a unique way and conferring special properties. Nanotechnology is considered key in future technological advances thanks to its properties and the great diversity of applications to which it can be adapted.

Nanotechnology is dedicated to exploiting the behaviour of matter in ultra small sizes. The coatings are made up of SiO2 suspensions, mainly composed of sand and quartz. Thanks to this composition, the suspensions in water or ethanol of SiO2 are completely inert, applicable to any type of surface:

> Non-porous, such as glass, porcelain, plastic, or stainless steel.

> Porous, such as wood, stone, floors, bricks, tiles, or marble.

> Fabrics and other materials, modifying their surface at the molecular level and, in the case of soil stabilization, the structural layers on the subgrade.


Soil stabilization and technological innovation

Traditionally, a physical methodology has been used for soil stabilization based on dynamic compaction of quarry aggregates and quicklime. Physiochemical stabilization based on cementitious materials (hydraulic lime and cement) and asphalt binders (emulsions and foaming) are also used.

But it is thanks to nanotechnology that an innovation in the sector is achieved that improves the results achieved and facilitates long-term stabilization (improvement of resistance to weathering, erosion and abrasion of traffic), even in heavily damaged areas.

The methodology is based on soil electrochemistry, from synthetic and ecological polymers.


Electrochemistry applied to soil stabilization

Electrochemistry has been considered as a science that develops on the boundary between chemistry and physics. However, today it is recognized as a discipline that plays an important role in different areas of science and technology, where the departments of R & D & I of academic institutions and the chemical industry sector, through nanotechnology, are making great strides in the field of science of new materials.


How it works

Ion exchange is a reversible, stoichiometric and rapid process by which the solid phase removes and retains some ions from the soil solution, while giving it equivalent amounts of others, to establish a new balance between the two phases. It occurs by electrostatic attraction between the charged surface of a colloid and a countercharged ion, and is called adsorption.



In the next instalment we will describe how the soil stabilization process works and the characteristics and uses of the polymers supplied by Concentrol.