Graphene paint could slow virus spread
Anti-bacterial coating being developed with miracle material Metal Tech News Weekly Edition – March 25, 2020
Last updated 6/27/2020 at 5:37am
The strongest and most conductive material known to man, graphene is considered a miracle material that will likely change how we construct things in the 21st century – from micro-electronics to mega-building structures. But, can this single layer of super strong carbon atoms also protect us from the spread of diseases like COVID-19?
GrapheneCA, a New York-based producer of graphene and developer of technologies that use this miraculous allotrope of carbon, believes the answer is yes and is formulating a graphene-based coating with anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
This graphene-rich formula could be made into paints and varnishes for the walls and surfaces of public areas where the risk of micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses is high – walls, benches, handrails, bathrooms and other touchable surfaces in shopping malls, handrails, stations, airports and event halls.
GrapheneCA said its formula has been lab-tested to block the metabolism of micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses by restricting cellular respiration and cell division. It has been shown these micro-organisms die when contacting surfaces covered with the coating's components.
There has been a multitude of studies into graphene's antibacterial properties over the past four years and these investigations have discovered two reasons why micro-organisms do not tolerate it – sharp edges upset the function of the membrane and the carbon material induces oxidative stress, which is the same function as hydrogen peroxide.
Micro-biological tests that meet rigorous industrial standards in Japan show that components of GrapheneCA's chemical-free coating completely kills dangerous bacteria such as E. coli. These tests also show that this bacteria-killing will last the entire life of the coating, which means that a new coat only needs to be applied when its time to repaint anyway.
"Our proprietary graphene-based coating has demonstrated sustained protective activity against micro-organisms," said Sergey Voskresensky, head of research and development at GrapheneCA. "We are in the process of validating our findings against different viruses and other micro-organisms and look forward to starting discussions with commercial partners for manufacturing and shipping soon after."
If this formula proves effective against COVID-19 and similar viruses, applied to surfaces of public gathering places could provide another layer of protection against future strains of coronavirus.
"Our mission is to provide protection to the concentrated areas that are most vulnerable to spreading viruses and other micro-organisms," said Voskresensky.
GrapheneCA said it is developing its anti-bacterial coating for optimal real-world applicability. Unique features are expected to include coatings that are curable with ultra-violet light, which minimizes the curing process and allows for immediate application. Additionally, the solution's no-color formula is intended to offer end users the flexibility to apply coatings to their color liking.
The graphene-based coating is also being developed to undergo rapid polymerization, which will activate the protective properties, under the sun or UV light exposure. GrapheneCA plans to build in a unique color-change indicator that will allow end users to distinguish unprotected, bacteria-exposed areas from shielded areas.