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Nano Waterproofing

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(Full teacher resource documents are included in the PDF)

Lesson Focus
Lesson focuses on how nanotechnology has impacted the design and engineering of many everyday items, from paint to fabrics. Students learn about the hydrophobic effect and how similar properties can be introduced by reengineering products at the nano level. Students work in teams to develop a waterproof material and compare their results with nano waterproof materials developed recently by engineers and scientists.

Lesson Synopsis
The "Nano Waterproofing" lesson explores how materials can be modified at the nano scale to provide features such as waterproofing and stain resistance.  Student "engineering" teams develop their own waterproofing technique for a cotton fabric and test their design against a fabric that has been altered through nanotechnology applications.

Age Levels:   8-18


  • Learn about nanostructures.
  • Learn about the hydrophobic effect.
  • Learn about surface area.
  • Learn about teamwork and working in groups.

Anticipated Learner Outcomes
As a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of:

  • nanostructures
  • surface area
  • problem solving
  • teamwork

Lesson Activities
Students learn about how nanotechnology has impacted manufacture and use of fabrics.  Students then work in a team to develop a waterproofing plan for a piece of cotton fabric, they execute their plan, test the fabric, and examine samples of fabrics that have had their surface altered through nanotechnology.


  • Teacher Resource Documents (attached)
  • Student Resource Sheet (attached)
  • Student Worksheets (attached)

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks
Curriculum alignment sheet is included in the