According tomedia reports, people do not want the presence of viruses or harmful bacteria in hospitals, because people there are already vulnerable. A new process could help, allowing aluminum surfaces in buildings to kill bacteria. Led by Professor Prasad Yarlagadda, scientists at the Queensland Institute of Technology in Australia began exposing the disc of the normal 6063 aluminum alloy to corrosive sodium hydroxide for three hours. This microscopicly alters the smooth surface of the metal, etching a series of ridges on it. The surface also becomes hydrophilia, which means it attracts water.
When viruses and bacteria, such as copper-green pseudomonas and Staphylococcus aureus, are then placed on treated aluminum, they are pulled over these tiny ridges. This causes the outer membrane of the microorganism to sag and rupture between the ridges, causing it to die. The wings of some insects are also similar to bacteria in the same way.
Most bacteria are eliminated within three hours of exposure, while the number of common respiratory viruses drops significantly within two hours. These figures are much better than the observed plastic or smooth aluminum surfaces. In fact, the treated disc is still valid even after testing to simulate possible wear in a hospital environment.
Scientists believe the technology could also be used on surfaces that are often exposed in other busy public environments, such as cruise ships or airports.
The paper on the study was recently published in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering.