MechChem Africa January-February 2021

Antimicrobial coatings in the fight against COVID-19 Lux Research has put out a new report about materials innovations involving antimicrobial coatings and how they are on the front line of fighting COVID-19. C OVID-19 has drastically changed the perception of hy- giene and cleanliness, spur- ring interest in antimicrobial

reactive radicals that break down organic compounds and pollutants on surfaces. “Photocatalytic coating developers have historically targeted theeliminationof pol- lution and smog, but COVID-19has driven more use in antimicrobial applications, as they canbe effective against bothbacteria and viruses,” Hua notes. Bio-based antimicrobial technologies are also gaining attention, utilising natural extracts andbio-based solutions to impart antimicrobial properties. Food packag- ing currently consumes the majority of bio-based antimicrobial technologies, but the technology could expand to other sec- tors as innovation continues to increase. Antimicrobialenzymesareanotheroption, as some can also produce reactive oxygen species that kill bacteria under light and can produce longer-lasting antimicrobial coatings. Antimicrobial coatings are far from perfect, as efficacy and durability are still major challenges. “These technologies lack certainty and documentation around performance and researchers are still struggling to prove that their incorpora- tion leads to better health outcomes,” furthers Hua. “Regulatory approval is another chal- lenge, as new disinfectant and antimicro- bial solutions must have EPA and FDA approval to make effectiveness claims. There are also health and environmental concerns that need to be addressed and they require increased regulation and oversight. With a surge in research and funding, there will be less concern over performance and regulation, however.” Lux Research expects major growth of antimicrobialcoatingswithinthetranspor- tationandmedical industries, aswell as ex- pandeddeployment inpublic spaces. Over thenext twoyears,moreopportunitieswill emerge within apparel, food and packag- ing applications, while in the longer term, automotive OEMs and other consumer product companies will adopt them. To learn more,

coatings, according to a new report from Lux Research. These coatings previously struggled tofindwidespreadadoptiondue todifficultiesinquantifyingtheirimpacton humanhealth,butthepandemichasdrawn attention to them as an important safety measure. In its new report, ‘ Antimicrobial Coatings at the Front Line of COVID-19 ’ Lux Research outlines key challenges and opportunities for coatings, additives, and materials innovation and how they will impact several major industries. “COVID-19 has driven substantial interest in antimicrobial coatings this year and is proving to be a catalyst for antimicrobial research and funding,” says Tiffany Hua, Research Associate at Lux Research. “We expect this interest to spike even further before the end of 2020 and to be a trend of continued interest in the materials and coatings industry.” Major manufacturers such as Ford Motor Company are talking about incorporating these types of coatings into their products, while startups, including HeiQ, are bring- ing out new antimicrobial coatings for applications such as textiles. However, not all antimicrobial coatings are created equal – some are only effec- tive against bacteria and not necessarily viruses – sousers need to choose carefully. “When considering thewide rangeof solu- tions used as preventivemeasures against COVID-19, it is important to understand the limitations of these technologies,” ex- plains Hua. “Metallic antimicrobial agents like silver and copper can be effective against both bacteria and viruses, but en- suring their effectivenesswhen dispersed in coating matrices still poses challenges.” Other solutions include photocatalytic, enzyme-basedandbio-based coatings and thesehave alsobeen shown tobe effective against bacteria and viruses. Light-activated, photocatalytic coat- ings are on the rise, thanks to their self- cleaning functionality and effective- ness against viruses. These coatings use materials that absorb UV light – such as nano-titaniumdioxide (TiO 2 ) – to produce

QR Code

you can download Lux Research’s an- timicrobial coating infographic here. q

Lux Research Antimicrobial Coatings Infographic

30 ¦ MechChem Africa • January-February 2021

Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online