The word antimicrobial is a broad collection of terms which can include antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, etc. all these terms describe properties of killing or inhibiting various microbes.
These antimicrobial powder coatings appear just the same but with the added benefit of being inhospitable to bacteria and other microbes that deposit on them. The microbes are killed or inhibited from growing by the finishing. This self-sterilisation is useful on products from medical devices to door handles.
Creating an antimicrobial powder coating
There are a variety of methods for creating an antimicrobial powder coating but the most common is the use of metal ions. These are typically silver, copper, or zinc all of which have been known for their antimicrobial properties for many years. Being inorganic, metal ions are non-specific meaning they are effective on a wide range of microorganisms. This also means there is little chance of resistance being developed by the microbes.
Of all the metals with antibacterial properties, silver has been found to be the most effective as well as the least toxic to animal cells. Effective against bacteria, fungi and viruses, silver ions interact with them in three main ways: disruption of cell wall formation, disruption of respiration of the cell, and binding to DNA preventing replication.
For the metal ions to work efficiently a carrier particle is required to control their release. The carrier particle must be easily incorporated into the powder coat resin without altering any of the properties or colour of the final finish. Additionally, the carrier particle should release the metal ions when required such as in the presence of moisture. Microbes prefer humid environments so that is when the antimicrobial properties are the most useful. Glass is currently the best for this application. Phosphate glass can be made with metal ions incorporated into it.
The antimicrobial additive (e.g., silver doped glass) is mixed into the powder resin during production of the powder coat. The powder coat can then be applied as normal to the product.
Antimicrobial powder coatings are a reliable and effective way to deliver long term protection from bacteria and other microbes. We can provide this coating in a wide range of colours for your aluminium extrusion.