Posting in Design
Researchers developed a way to create antibacterial stainless steel, so it can kill bacteria and still be strong enough to withstand regular cleaning.
Superbugs are a huge problem in hospitals. As I've mentioned before, scientists have been working on a number of ways to combat the spread of the potentially deadly pathogens, making anti-pathogenic drugs and a coating that can kill MRSA upon contact.
Engineers at the University of Birmingham designed stainless steel that is resistant to bacteria. It turns out a surface made with silver, nitrogen and oxygen can keep bacteria at bay.
The technique is called Active Screen Plasma (ASP). Scientists use ASP to build a hybrid metal surface. So when silver is put into a stainless steel surface, it can give the metal the ability to fight off bacteria. Nitrogen and carbon make the new material harder to the touch, so that when it goes through cleaning it can resist normal wear and tear.
Using the surface in hospitals to prevent the spread of superbugs is only scratching the surface. What if medical equipment or surfaces in kitchens were covered in this antibacterial stainless steel?
"Our technique means that we avoid coating the surface, instead we modify the top layers of the surface," Hanshan Dong, professor at University of Birmingham, said in a statement.
via Antibacterial Stainless Steel Created by Birmingham Engineers [University of Birmingham]
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Jul 20, 2011
I thought I would mention that I have just invented a new Stainless Steel alloy being highly cost competitive and even higher efficiency in killing certain bacteria than silver based products and it is not a copper based alloy eigther, but truly stainless steel 100% through and through. This is a new alloy and not a coating or a laminated material. It can be cast, forged or rolled to sheet very comparible to a 304SS workability and performance. Our first application will probably be faucets and extrusions.
Yet another product or treatment that could increase the creation of superbugs! Silver has long been known and used to increase hygiene. Silver particles are now found in all kinds of plastic polymers and paint treatments, to do this very thing. But, silver does not kill every type. So, as with the over-use of antibiotics, every time a method of killing bacteria/micro-organisms becomes widespread, it fails to kill some. Those survivors then have a clean field in which to multiply and prosper. Wow! Now we have even tougher superbugs! Do we ever learn?
If the antibacterial action is limited to the surface layers, a scratch could go below those layers, and give bugs a safe refuge. And if, as I'd expect, users got too confident about their "safe" working surface, such scratches may go uncleaned for extended periods. Safer, I'd think, to include these properties in the bulk steel itself.