As flu season ramps up and Covid remains a concern, having a material that can kill microbes on surfaces would be a major breakthrough in controlling the spread of illnesses. Researchers have discovered that combining certain polymers and exposing the resulting material to UV light can kill the coronavirus and help eliminate infections from the flu, the common cold, and other viruses. When activated with the UV light, these polymers add a coating that works fast and is effective in reducing the concentration of the virus by 100,000 times.

This new material is effective against a wide range of bacteria and viruses. The material by itself does not work in the dark; it must be exposed to radiation from ultraviolet light in order to be activated. The antimicrobial material, in the dark, docks with the virus. Then on irradiation, oxygen is activated. It is this active oxygen that begins the reaction that makes the virus inactive.

Materials that have traditionally been used to kill the viruses and bacteria have consisted of bleach and alcohol. Although effective, the amount of time a treated surface remains sterilized is limited. With this new method and its improved performance, the new technology can be used in many applications, from N95 masks, to personal protective equipment, to sprays and wipes. These applications could benefit industries such as healthcare facilities, airlines, schools and more, especially in case another pandemic occurs. And unlike other current disinfectants, this material does not wash away with water and does not leave behind toxic residue.

The Polymers Technology Center assists companies in the development of new products and specialty compounds. We can help you with researching new resins and additive combinations. We also help develop the optimal process for your new products. Contact us to learn more about how we can assist your company.