General, Research, Technology

In hospitals of the future, door handles will be cleaned of bacteria themselves

Every day, thousands of people are cured in hospitals,but in these “healing rooms” completely healthy people often pick up dangerous diseases as well. The fact is that almost all visitors touch door handles and other objects - even carriers of various infections. In order to somehow prevent the possible spread of diseases, hospital staff regularly wipe surfaces with antibacterial agents. But in the future, at least wiping the door handles, you can forget. Australian scientists have created material that destroys bacteria, literally tearing apart their outer shell. This is probably a real sight, but this whole “meat grinder” takes place at the microscopic level.

In hospitals, it’s fashionable to catch infections, so wash your hands more often

Antibacterial material

The new medical material was described inACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering The basis for the new material was aluminum alloy 6063, which is used in the manufacture of windows, facade structures, sports equipment, cars and so on. A door handle made of this material was treated with sodium hydroxide, a common alkali, for three hours.

See also: 6 of the dirtiest things you contact daily

Since alkali is a very caustic substance,the surface of the aluminum alloy is covered with many ridges. But with the naked eye these sharp irregularities are not visible, because they can be seen only under a microscope. For people, the door handle of this material does not stand out anything special, but for dangerous bacteria it is a torture apparatus, sitting on which their bodies are torn to pieces.

It’s important to note that the new material kills even harmless bacteria

Probably about the killer property of materials withmicroscopic ridges, Australian scientists have learned from their colleagues. In 2013, biophysicists from Australia found that irregularities on the wings of some insects have “antibacterial” properties. When bacteria are on the surface of the wings, their outer shell adheres to several sharp ridges and begins to stretch. In the end, the cell membrane is stretched so that it breaks, releases the insides of the cell and the bacteria die.

The wings of cicadas Psaltoda claripennis possess antibacterial properties.

According to researchers from TechnologicalSwinburne University, it’s like stretching a rubber glove. If you pull it in different directions, in the end its middle will become so thin that it will simply tear. As part of a new scientific work, scientists literally created a copy of the structure of insect wings made of aluminum. They tried to place Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on the surface of the material, which can cause a wide range of diseases from skin acne to pneumonia - over time, these spherical bacteria died.

It looks like Staphylococcus aureus

According to researchers, made from a newAluminum alloy door handles can self-clean every two hours. Also, during the experiments, they found out that the alloy retains its antibacterial properties even after a long time - wear on new door handles will not be particularly scary. It is important to note that aluminum has become the best material for alkaline treatment, because other metals have not formed bumps that are deadly for bacteria.

Hand hygiene

In addition to hospitals, door handles made of new materialcan be used in other public places like airports. This sounds pretty wild, but according to Business Insider, only 70% of people wash their hands after using the toilet. According to American scientists, if the remaining 30% of people did not forget about this important rule of hygiene, the spread of dangerous diseases like coronavirus could be halved.

New material may be useful at airports, but its effectiveness in public places is still in question

In one of the old materials I already mentioned thatequipping airports with toilets costs a lot of money. But installing a new type of door handle can stop the spread of infectious diseases at least slightly. Only one thing is annoying - the researchers say that the surface is cleaned of bacteria every two hours. But in airports and other public places they are touched much more often, almost every minute.

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So the use of new door handles inhospitals and airports are still in great doubt. But for the house they will be just - due to the ease of manufacture, this material is unlikely to be expensive and products from it will be available to everyone.

Finally, I want to invite you to read the materialmy colleague Daria Yeletskaya on the principles of antibacterial hand gels. Recently, we often use them and find out exactly how they kill our microscopic enemies - this is very interesting.