Researchers: Metallic Coatings Could Slow Virus
Research out of Montreal’s Concordia University is looking into antiviral metallic and ceramic coatings as a way to slow the transmission of COVID-19.
The Surface Engineering for Advanced Manufacturing (Green-SEAM) Network, which is based at Concordia, is putting its team to work to see how its resources can be applied to the pandemic.
“Copper and titanium oxide, we know, are active in killing bacteria and viruses, so they are effective materials to spray on surfaces to fight the spread of COVID-19,” said Christian Moreau, Director of Green-SEAM and Canada Research Chair in Surface Engineering.
“We have a unique network of experts in surface engineering from 11 universities across Canada, 14 industrial companies and government laboratories including the National Research Council who specialize in coating materials.”
Green-SEAM was reportedly established three years ago as a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Strategic Network to integrate Canada’s surface engineering leaders.
Recent work at the University of Toronto by professor and Green-SEAM member Javad Mosthaghimi has demonstrated the benefit of the copper coatings on hospital waiting-room chair armrests, according to the university.
And, for the past five years, experts at Concordia’s Gina Cody School have been tailoring the structure of titanium oxide coatings to optimize their photocatalytic and filtration properties that can now be deployed for their antibacterial and antiviral capabilities.
“We’re pioneering the development of technologies that ensure environmentally responsible practices and solutions by the entire Canadian coating and surface engineering community—a community that can contribute its skillset to help flatten the curve,” said Moreau.
“Our principle focus is on student researchers supervised by university, industry and government experts to prepare the next generation of surface engineers and scientists to incorporate ‘green thinking’ throughout their careers.”
Teams from around the globe have been coming up with coatings solutions to the health crisis.
Most recently, last month, researchers from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Israel, announced that they were also working with metals and are developing a novel surface coating that aims to “contain nanoparticles of safe metal ions and polymers with anti-viral and anti-microbial activity,” a route in combating the pandemic.
Based on their findings, they are developing an anti-viral coating that can be painted or sprayed onto surfaces.
Earlier in May, researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology announced that they had developed a multilevel antimicrobial polymer (MAP-1) coating that they say is effective in killing viruses, bacteria and spores.
The coating reportedly prevents microbial adhesion on a surface by using the special blend of antimicrobial polymers, effectively killing “99.9% of bacteria and viruses.”
In April, University of Central Florida researchers announced that they were working to create a protective coating that would specifically target and kill the COVID-19 virus. The plan is to create nanostructures to capture the virus and then trigger a chemical reaction using ultraviolet light to kill it.
The nanostructures will be created at UCF’s main campus and then shipped to a lab at the College of Medicine for tests to see which materials kill specific viruses and how fast.
In March, research at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, revealed a new self-sanitizing surface coating that aims to help address infection control in hospitals, food processing plants, public transportation and other commercial places.
The unique features of that research, according to the university, include the novelty of multi-step and multi-process additive manufacturing through the use of cold spray and polymer 3D printing.
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