Understanding and minimising the risks
NPL has carried out a thorough review of research and scientific publications, to check the current state of knowledge, research and practices on antiviral surfaces and coatings. Whilst anti-bacterial properties have been examined closely in the past, the antiviral properties are less well understood and often quite different. The review covered a range of materials including metals, polymers and biopolymers, graphene and a range of physical surface properties. It aimed to understand the mechanisms of antiviral properties at the molecular level and covered the current experiences of using these materials.
The information will help the materials selection for future applications, including public buildings and transportation. NPL has the advantage of having experts in materials, surface technology as well as the analytical techniques and will give useful practical information to customers.
3D printing antiviral materials
3D printing typically involves heating a solid material to approximately 200 °C which reduces any antiviral agents that may be present. NPL has developed a resin alternative which has the potential to require less cleaning and hence less abrasion which could reduce the properties of the material.
Evaluating the performance of antiviral sprays and liquids
Materials used in public spaces are increasingly being cleaned with antiviral sprays to reduce the COVID-19 risks. NPL is aiming to understand the impact of using the antiviral sprays on a range of materials, particular how often the cleaning is required and how it may influence the material itself from the chemical perspective and in terms of wear. The active ingredient in antiviral sprays needs water to be effective so hydrophobicity testing is critical in building this understanding.
Applying antiviral ‘wraps’ to critical objects
This would allow effective antiviral properties to be added to existing objects and structures.