While there may be no silver bullet for germs, researchers have developed antimicrobial abrasion-resistant coatings that use silver and copper colloids to kill germs and stop new ones from becoming established on surfaces. The metals work by gradually releasing germicidal metal ions into the environment.
Additionally, the anti-adhesive properties of the coating ensures that both dead and fresh germs are repelled, reducing the incidence of biofilm formation. The researchers expect the new development to be particularly useful in hospitals, kitchens, and HVAC systems where germs are a real and present concern.
Researchers from the INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials used the ASTM E2 180 test process to prove the coating’s microbicidal and biofilm-inhibiting properties. According to the developers, “the consumption of metals to metal ions is so low that the coating can be effective for several years” – a significant improvement over current coating technology. The new product can be applied to plastic, ceramic, and metal surfaces by spraying or dipping, and cures either thermally or photochemically.