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Antimicrobial The


Copper alloy registration offers opportunities for metalcasters. DENISE KAPEL, SENIOR EDITOR


W Bed rails


Nurse’s call button Chair arms Tray table


Mouse


Laptop palm rest Monitor bezel


IV pole Cu Zn


C11000 C63800 C70600 C52400 C71000


99.9 95 90 90 79


C87610 90 min. C69300 C26000 C46400


75 70 60


4


21.9 30


39.2 .7 34 | MODERN CASTING October 2012


hile copper has long been known to have anti- microbial properties,


it was not officially registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) until 2008. Te agency now rec- ognizes copper and many of its alloys for their antimicrobial properties. Pres- ently, 355 copper alloys are registered with the EPA as antimicrobial materi- als, including 62 cast alloys. Consequently, metalcasters, manufac-


turers and retailers are able to market cast and wrought copper products’ beneficial properties for certain applications. Te


Table 1. Objects used in the study Object


Standard Materials Plastic Plastic Wood


High pressure laminate top


Plastic Plastic Plastic


Steel


metal is considered particularly advanta- geous in settings where it is touched, such as in hospitals and mass transit. “At least ten component manufactur-


ers are now actively selling antimicrobial copper products, including IV poles, railings, door hardware, carts and [other frequently touched items],” said Harold Michels, senior vice president, Technol- ogy & Technical Services, Copper Devel- opment Association (CDA), New York. While testing shows that antimicro- bial copper alloys kill greater than 99% of several bacteria within two hours of exposure, copper surfaces are considered a supplement to and not a substitute for sanitation protocols. Copper must be free of visible dirt and grime to be effective.


Copper Alloy C11000


C26000, C63800 C70600


C70600 top, column C46400 trip-lever


C26000 C70600 C52400


C69300 hooks C71000 pole C70600 brackets C87610 base


Sn Si Ni 10 10 21


4 3


.1 .19 Al Co .4


Alloy Form Foil Foil


Sheet


Sheet Rod


Foil Foil Foil


Rod


Tube Plate Cast


Table 2. UNS designations of copper alloys used and their chemical compositions Alloy


P 1.8 2.8


Metal


at the American Foundry Society’s 116th


According to research presented Annual Metalcasting Congress


this year, the contribution of bacte- rial touch-surface contamination to hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) has not been well defined, as studies have shown that recontamination and inadequate cleaning frequently are a concern. Michael Schmidt and Hubert Attaway of the Medical Uni- versity of South Carolina, Charles- ton, along with the CDA’s James Michel, Harold Michels, Wilton Moran, Adam Estelle and Kyle Sex- ton, presented the results of a study they conducted to assess whether a lower environmental bio-burden on critical touch surfaces would result in a lower risk of contracting an infec- tion while hospitalized. “Preliminary findings suggest that the built environment plays a substan- tial role in the contraction of HAIs,” the researchers wrote. Considering the extended hospital stays, high costs and risk of death associated with HAIs, the use of antimicrobial copper surfaces is warranted. Metalcasters that manufac- ture copper alloy touch-surface prod- ucts have a significant opportunity. Te researchers noted that products requir- ing intricate shapes offer a particular benefit, because casting can prove to be an advantageous manufacturing method. As demand for antimicrobial copper surface products increases, the use of these products has the potential to save lives.


Copper Alloy Product Development Widely used cast copper alloys are


versatile, achieving a range of physical and mechanical properties and offer- ing the benefits of machinability and


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