Exciting Advances in the Antibacterial Properties of Stainless Steel

The health industry has enough on its hands without having to worry about malpractice suits due to patients contracting illnesses from the hospital itself. We know that stainless steel is a practical and hard-wearing surface, ideal in a hospital environment. However, more studies have been done on the antibacterial properties of stainless steel, with some interesting results.

Exploring the Antibacterial Properties of Stainless Steel

Team Stainless commissioned research on this subject, asking the Manchester Metropolitan University and AgroParisTech to explore the effectiveness of stainless steel in hospital environments.

The study examined how stainless steel performs in both a new and an artificially aged state when exposed to the most common bacteria found in hospitals. The results were encouraging.

“New and aged samples of AISI 304 and AISI 316 (the two grades of stainless steel usually found in clinical environments) with various surface finishes were contaminated with the bacteria most commonly associated with Healthcare Acquired Infections (HAIs). The samples were then cleaned using a proprietary disinfectant and analysed for the presence of bacteria.

“The study concluded that standard cleaning and disinfection effectively sanitised all tested samples, regardless of grade, surface finish or simulated age. This confirms the continued safety of using stainless steel in hospital environments.” (Read the summary brochure here)

Advances in Stainless Steel for Health & Food Industries

Further to this, the University of Birmingham conducted research funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council which explored ways in which to increase the antibacterial properties of stainless steel.

The result of these studies was a technique called Active Screen Plasma (ASP) which they used to create a hybrid metal surface that includes silver and copper. This alloying process produces a hardwearing product in which the silver acts as a bacteria-killing agent.

Hanshan Dong, Professor of Surface Engineering at the University of Birmingham and lead investigator, said: ‘Previous attempts to make stainless steel resistant to bacteria have not been successful as these have involved coatings which are too soft and not hard-wearing.  Thin antibacterial coatings can be easily worn down when interacting with other surfaces, which leads to a low durability of the antibacterial surface.  Our technique means that we avoid coating the surface, instead, we modify the top layers of the surface.’ (Source)

Indeed, these advances in the steel industry make for exciting reading.

The Steelmor team are excited to embrace these new ideas and make them available for our valuable customers. Why not give us a call today?

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