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Nanotechnology scientists work to understand and engineer the tiny particles in materials. They have used nanotechnology and nanomaterials to improve everyday objects and to speed up chemical reactions. Now Shell is looking at new ways to use nanoparticles to help produce more oil and natural gas.
Nanoparticles are tiny: one nanometre is around 50,000 times thinner than a human hair. The properties of these tiny particles can be different to the properties of the scaled up material: nanoparticles of gold, for example, are a different colour (red, blue, green) depending on their size.
Some nanoparticles are extremely strong and excellent at conducting heat, electricity or sound. Scientists have found ways to use them in everyday objects, such as to make bicycle frames stronger and lighter and for clearer television screens.
Shell already uses nanotechnology, for example, as catalysts to speed up chemical reactions and in coatings to help stop pipes corroding. Now we are developing ways to use nanotechnology to help us extract more oil and gas from reservoirs.
Watch the video: Shell and nanotechnology
Sergio Kapusta, Shell Chief Scientist Materials, talks about nanotechnology and its potential in producing more oil and gas to help meet growing energy demand.