Science

Surface treatment makes aluminum antiviral and antibacterial

Surface treatment makes alumin...
The technology is aimed at use on items such as hospital door handles
The technology is aimed at use on items such as hospital door handles
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The technology is aimed at use on items such as hospital door handles
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The technology is aimed at use on items such as hospital door handles

If there's one place where you don't want viruses or harmful bacteria to be present, it's in hospitals, where people are already vulnerable. A new process could help, by allowing aluminum surfaces in such buildings to kill the bugs.

Led by Prof. Prasad Yarlagadda, scientists at Australia's Queensland Institute of Technology started by exposing discs of ordinary 6063 aluminum alloy to corrosive sodium hydroxide (aka: lye) for three hours. Doing so altered the metal's smooth surface on a microscopic level, etching a series of ridges into it. The surface also became hydrophilic, meaning that it attracted water.

When viruses and bacteria (such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus) were subsequently placed on the treated aluminum, they were drawn across the tiny ridges. This caused the microbes' outer membranes to sag between the ridges and rupture, killing them. Certain insects' wings neutralize bacteria in the same fashion.

Most of the bacteria were eliminated within three hours of contact, while numbers of common respiratory viruses dropped considerably within two hours. These figures were considerably better than those that were observed for plastic or smooth aluminum surfaces. In fact, even after testing that simulated the wear and tear that might occur in a hospital setting over time, the treated discs remained effective.

The scientists believe that the technology could also be applied to frequently touched surfaces in other busy public settings, such as cruise ships or airports.

A paper on the research was recently published in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.

Source: American Chemical Society

5 comments
Alainroy
You should also look at this ... it's in French but in Saguenay they are treating aluminium to make it antimicrobial too, and they are pretty advanced. https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1695561/aluminium-antibacterien-saguenay-covid-19
Peter
do NOT touch ANY-thing in an hospital !!!
Alien
Thanks, Alainroy. Your link is most interesting and certainly the people at Saguenay seem to have quite a lead in this area - especially as they say their approach offers immediate protection - without the 2-3 hour antimicrobial/antiviral time interval.
JMS
I recall virus is typically 0.1um, and bacteria are 1um or more. How can these etched ridges be affective for both? Thanks.
Signguy
Copper kills the virus and germs; science!
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/copper-virus-kill-180974655/