Infection outbreaks could be reduced by copper coated uniforms say University of Manchester scientists

Full reference :Sun, C. et al. |Durable and Washable Antibacterial Copper Nanoparticles Bridged by Surface Grafting Polymer Brushes on Cotton and Polymeric Materials| Journal of Nanomaterials|2018| DOI: 10.1155/2018/6546193
While the antibacterial properties of gold and silver are well known, and their effectiveness in reducing the growth of several microorganisms has been reported, the high cost of silver and gold has compelled material chemists to explore the possibility of using copper, as it has similar antimicrobial properties but is far less expensive. 

wire-2681887_1920Researchers from University of Manchester collaborated with Chinese scientists to create a ‘durable and washable, concrete like’ composite material made from antibacterial copper nanoparticles.  Rather than using the traditional process of copper coating the polymer brush technique (polymer surface grafting) to create a strong chemcial bond developed by team proved far more effective. They tested these nanoparticles on cotton and polyester as each material was brushed with the nanoparticles. The cotton and polyester coated-copper fabrics showed excellent antibacterial resistance against Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and E. coli, even after being washed 30 times.


To increase the durability of antibacterial coating on cotton and polymeric substrates, surface initiated grafting polymer brushes are introduced onto the substrates surface to bridge copper nanoparticles coatings and substrate. The morphologies of the composites consisting of the copper nanoparticles and polymer brushes were characterized with scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

It was found that copper nanoparticles were uniformly and firmly distributed on the surfaces of the substrates by the polymer brushes; meanwhile, the reinforced concrete-like structures were formed in the composite materials. The substrates coated by the copper nanoparticles showed the efficient antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Escherichia coli (E. coli) even after washing by 30 cycles. The copper nanoparticles were tethered on the substrates by the strong chemical bonds, which led to the excellent washable fitness and durability. The change of the phase structure of the copper was analyzed to investigate the release mechanism of copper ions.

Full story at Science Daily

Related Infection Control Today Copper Coated Uniforms could Help Reduce Infection Transmission 


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