An electroplated copper–silver alloy as antibacterial coating on stainless steel

Nicole Ciacotich, Rameez Ud Din, Jens J. Sloth, Per Møller, Lone Gram*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Transfer and growth of pathogenic microorganisms must be prevented in many areas such as the clinical sector. One element of transfer is the adhesion of pathogens to different surfaces and the purpose of the present study was to develop and investigate the antibacterial efficacy of stainless steel electroplated with a copper-silver alloy with the aim of developing antibacterial surfaces for the medical and health care sector. The microstructural characterization showed a porous microstructure of electroplated copper-silver coating and a homogeneous alloy with presence of interstitial silver. The copper-silver alloy coating showed active corrosion behavior in chloride-containing environments. ICP-MS measurements revealed a selective and localized dissolution of copper ions in wet conditions due to its galvanic coupling with silver. No live bacteria adhered to the copper-silver surfaces when exposed to suspensions of S. aureus and E. coli at a level of 108 CFU/ml whereas 104 CFU/cm2 adhered after 24 h on the stainless steel controls. In addition, the Cu-Ag alloy caused a significant reduction of bacteria in the suspensions. The coating was superior in its antibacterial activity as compared to pure copper and silver electroplated surfaces. Therefore, the results showed that the electroplated copper-silver coating represents an effective and potentially economically feasible way of limiting surface spreading of pathogens.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
Volume345
Pages (from-to)96-104
ISSN0257-8972
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Copper
  • Silver
  • Electroplating
  • Coating
  • Antibacterial

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