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Read more about antimicrobial copper product opportunities at www.antimicrobialcopper.com.


requently fail to comply with hand- washing mandates, exacerbating the HAI problem. “Even at a 100% compliance level,


the risk of pathogen transmission is still present,” the team reported. In the study, funded by the U.S.


Department of Defense, the research- ers followed patients entering the intensive care unit (ICU) at three hospitals, from December 2007 to June 2011, for the development of HAIs. Eight rooms were equipped with six frequently touched objects that had been fabricated from copper alloys. Tese were the bed rails, arms of a visitor’s chair, over-bed tray table, intravenous (IV) pole, nurse’s call device and data input devices. Another eight ICU rooms, outfitted with iden- tical non-copper objects (plastic, wood, composite material or painted steel), also were studied for the bio-burden associated with each surface. Each room was utilized in the same manner, including the cleaning agents and regiments that were applied.


The Bacterial Burden Te average and median bacterial


burden of each object sampled was


calculated as colony forming unit (cfu) per 100cm2


. Te study found that the


bacterial burden on the non-copper surfaces was 52 times greater than the level generally considered to represent a risk to the patient, or 250 cfu/100cm2


. Objects closest to


the patients were the most contami- nated, with staphylococci being the most common pathogen. Copper provided a consistent and


significant reduction in bacteria: 83%, approaching the 99.9% reduction observed in laboratory testing. Along with regular cleaning, the


incorporation of inherently active antimi- crobial surfaces, i.e., copper alloys, resulted in cleaner and safer hospital conditions. “All of the copper objects had remark-


ably lower concentrations of bacteria,” the researchers reported. “Te summa- tive bacterial burden from the 3,406 non-copper objects tested during the 43.5-month study period was 7,579,000 cfu/100 cm2


Fig 4. The percentage of cumulative bacterial burden found on copper and non-copper surfaces (7,016 objects). The cumulative bacterial burden found was 8,844,160 cfus over the 43.5 month total study period (quantified weekly).


3,610 copper objects tested over the same time period was 1,265,160 cfu/100 cm2


. Te bacterial burden on the ,


which was 83% lower” (Fig. 4). Bed rails were, by far, the most con- taminated objects tested. “Te maximum level of bacterial contamination found on any single plastic bed rail was 17 times higher than the maximum value observed on any single copper-clad rail,” according to the authors. Te risk of contracting an HAI for


MORE CUTTING-EDGE RESEARCH


American Foundry Society corporate members are funding these industry research projects in FY2011-2012. Optimizing Mechanical Properties of Cast Aluminum Alloys: Aims to establish potential maximum mechanical properties of cast aluminum alloys based on the application of best practices. Ductile & Compacted Graphite Iron Casting Skin—Evaluation,


Effect on Fatigue Strength & Elimination Phase II: In Phase I, the mechanism for skin formation and test specimens design was vali- dated. During Phase II, fatigue specimens will be cast and the influ- ence of skin formation on fatigue will be determined. Also, potential actions to reduce or eliminate skin formation will be investigated. Development of Core Gas Venting Guidelines—Phase II: This project delivers a simple Core Venting Design Calculator. Studies of a Quenched Cupola Part IV, Behavior of Coke: The virtue of this furnace is its ability to transform itself to meet current needs. New Approaches to Clay Control in Green Sand: If clay level could be better and active clay controlled, so could moisture and compactability. This program is investigating a measurement


36 | MODERN CASTING October 2012


technique that will be more definitive than the current methylene blue test.


Magnesium Melt Cleanliness: The research is part of an ongoing effort to increase the use of magnesium alloys to a significant level in the automotive industry. Veining Reduction Project–Thermo-Mechanical Approach:


Today’s sand casting technology demands precision, and the use of superior molding materials is a means to this end.


Achieving Lightweight Casting Solutions for Defense Applications (ALCS)


The ALCS program includes the Castings Solutions for Readiness Program. Funded by the Defense Logistics Agency, it includes multiple research projects to improve metalcasting capabilities. The Cast High-Integrity Alloy Mechanical Prop- erty Standards (CHAMPS) program will produce statistically validated design properties for aluminum alloy 206 for inclusion in the MMPDS Handbook.


patients in rooms with copper objects was found to be significantly lower than for patients in rooms without copper objects. Patients housed in rooms with copper objects and using a bed with copper rails had a 61% lower risk of contracting an infection than patients housed in rooms without copper objects. Patients who stayed in rooms with copper objects and in which all six copper objects never left the room had a 69.1% lower risk of contracting an infection than patients in rooms with no copper objects.


Te paper (12-113) on which this article is based was first presented at the 2012 American Foundry Society Metalcasting Congress in Columbus, Ohio.


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