September 13, 2005
Hygienic surfaces, biocidal and self-cleaning coatings
Microbian evolution on a wide variety of surfaces can produce phenomena such as corrosion, dirt, smells and even serious hygiene and health problems.
It is well known there is a great interest in the design and development of the so-called "hygienic surfaces", referring to surfaces that not only provides biocidal activity but also to those that are easy to clean and even self-cleaning.Achieving these properties on a surface is possible by means of coatings and treatments on specific surfaces, and in which nanotechnology plays a key role. Most of these coatings acquire their biocidal/self-cleaning capacity by incorporating specific nanoparticles: basically silver (Ag) and titanium oxide (TiO2).
The development of these coatings is key mainly in sectors such as architecture and construction, textiles, heat exchangers, air conditioning circuits, hygiene-health (hospitals, schools) and food processing.
The achievement of such coatings means, not only a reduction in the problems of corrosion and in health risks, but also a reduction or elimination in the consumption of biocides and toxic industrial detergents.
Various methods and technologies currently exist that enable the obtaining of these biocidal surfaces, amongst which are the incorporation of nanoparticles in organic resins (in ceramic matrixes), as well as the deposition in plasma-vacuum with incorporation of nanoparticles.
An INASMET-Tecnalia research team has led the proposal for the project known as "Development and evaluation of coatings and surface conditions on steel for antibacterial and easy-to-clean properties, DECOBIOF". The aim is to design, develop and evaluate those surfaces with antibacterial and self-cleaning properties.
Apart from the participation of the Technological Centre, co-ordinator of the project, el the consortium is made up of CORUS UK Limited (UK), the Max Planck Institute (Germany), OCAS-Arce-lor N.V. (Belgium), SIMR (Sweden), ACERINOX (Spain) and the Centro Sviluppo Materiali (Italy).
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