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Anti-microbial coatings with a long-term action

Hygienic conditions and sterile procedures are particularly important in hospitals, kitchens and sanitary facilities, air conditioning and ventilation systems, in food preparation and in the manufacture of packaging material.

In these areas, bacteria and fungi compromise the health of both consumers and patients. Researchers at the INM have now produced antimicrobial coatings with both silver and copper colloids with a long-term effect that kill germs reliably and at the same time prevent germs becoming established.

Antimicrobial coatings with copper colloids with a long-term effect kill germs reliably
Source: Uwe Bellhäuser

The INM will be presenting this development from 23 to 24 October at the Eurofinish 2013 international trade fair in Ghent, Belgium.

“The new development combines two properties which means the presence of germs and fungi on these surfaces is zero”, explains Carsten Becker-Willinger, Head of the Nanomers Program Division. Silver or copper colloids which gradually release germicidal metal ions into the environment are incorporated in the coating.

“The metal colloids are only a few nanometers in size, but their particular ratio of size to surface area produces a distinctive long-term effect. The “consumption” of metals to metal ions is then so low that the coating can be effective for several years”, says the chemist.

At the same time, the surface of the coating is anti-adhesive, so neither dead nor fresh germs can adhere to the surface. As a result, the coating primarily counteracts the formation of an extensive biofilm.

The researchers were able to prove the double microbicidal and biofilm-inhibiting action using the standardised ASTM E2 180 test process. The new material can be applied to a variety of substrates such as plastic, ceramic or metal using conventional techniques such as spraying or dipping, and cures thermally or photochemically. Selective variation of the individual components allows the developers to react to the particular and different needs of potential users.

As part of the EU-sponsored CuVito project, the developers are now looking at increasingly using copper colloids and copper ions as well as silver which they hope will open up other fields of application.

The INM will be exhibiting these and other developments from 15 to 17 October at Materialica 2013 in Munich and from 23 to 24 October at Eurofinish 2013 in Ghent (Belgium).

Dr Carsten Becker-Willinger
INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials
Spokesman Chemical Nanotechnology
Head Program Division Nanomere
Phone: +49681-9300-196
INM conducts research and development to create new materials – for today, tomorrow and beyond. Chemists, physicists, biologists, materials scientists and engineers team up to focus on these essential questions: Which material properties are new, how can they be investigated and how can they be tailored for industrial applications in the future? Four research thrusts determine the current developments at INM: New materials for energy application, new concepts for implant surfaces, new surfaces for tribological applications and nanosafety/nanobio interaction. Research at INM is performed in three fields: Chemical Nanotechnology, Interface Materials, and Materials in Biology.

INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials, situated in Saarbruecken, is an internationally leading centre for materials research. It is an institute of the Leibniz Association and has about 190 employees.

Dr. Carola Jung | idw
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