SELFCLEAN is a project within the EU Seventh Research Frame Programme (FP7) in the area of Research for the benefit of SMEs. The long term objective of this two-year project is to develop self cleaning-antibacterial coatings of high aesthetics and durability, thus meet the important need of public hygiene in common touched surfaces as knobs and handles.
These composite coatings will consist of Sn-Ni matrix with doped TiO2 nanoparticles as a reinforcing mean. Doped-TiO2 nanoparticles having the ability to absorb visible light can be activated indoors and thus present enhanced photo catalytic activity. The incorporation of these doped-TiO2 nanoparticles in the Sn-Ni matrix will have as a result the self-cleaning and antibacterial properties.
The consortium consisting of 9 partners from 5 different countries will develop new self-cleaning-antibacterial coatings by electroplating technology.
Hygiene/antimicrobial issues in public places eg. hospitals, schools, hotels, public transportation etc. are of crucial importance as inattention could lead to spread of viral diseases or epidemics and consequently to deaths. A typical example is that of hospital acquired infections (HAI). According to The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in the EU, about 3,000,000 are infected annually with HAI and about 25,000 patients die from this. Such infections also bring extra healthcare costs and annual productivity losses of at least €1.5 billion. It is estimated that 15% of these infections is due to transmission through inanimate objects. Although sanitization and disinfection of surfaces using chemical liquids as chlorine or alcohol is a common practice to prevent transmission of diseases, many times such procedures are skipped, skimped or in the case of public transportation not practically feasible.
There exists a great need for anti-bacterial/viral surfaces to reduce the spread of diseases. The SMEs of the consortium having identified this need propose the solution of self-cleaning, antibacterial electrolytic coatings of high aesthetics and durability. These composite coatings will consist of Sn-Ni matrix with doped TiO2 nanoparticles as a reinforcing mean. Doped-TiO2 nanoparticles having the ability to absorb visible light can be activated indoors and thus present enhanced photocatalytic activity. The incorporation of these doped-TiO2 nanoparticles in the Sn-Ni matrix will have as a result the self-cleaning and antibacterial properties. Of crucial importance is the percentage of the incorporated nanoparticles. In order to increase the co-deposition rate and consequently the photocatalytic activity, pulse current plating will be utilized. With this method higher co-deposition rate of nanoparticles can be achieved compared to the conventional direct current plating. These kind of coating will be able to operate under indoor light irradiation and can be applied to common touched objects (knobs, taps, handles) reducing the risk of infection’s transmission by 50-100%.
The SelfClean project has established manufacturing facilities, which enables production of doped TiO2 powders showing photocatalytic activity in visible light. The SelfClean project currently focuses on manufacturing two types of doped TiO2 powders. Both types of powders predominantly consist of the anatase phase, and the lowest band gab has been determined to 2,27eV. Photocatalytic activity of the powders has been confirmed according to ISO 10678-10 and the powders show photocatalytic activity at 455nm by the so-called Acid Orange Test. One of the powders show antimicrobial effect by the so-called Shake Flask Test at 455nm using E.Coli as microorganism model system. Whereas the other type of powder benefits from two antimicrobial mechanisms, enabling this powder to exhibit antimicrobial effect at by the so-called Shake Flask Test at using E. Coli as microorganism model system, both with and without being subjected to light.
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