One result of the Covid-19 pandemic is that companies specializing in metal additive manufacturing and powder manufacturers have been able to show and develop the potential of their technology and products for healthcare applications.

In April, UK manufacturer Promethean Particles reported its collaboration with textile companies and research facilities to explore the antiviral effects of its copper nanoparticles designed for use in fabrics and personal protective equipment (PPE). Previously, the company developed nano-copper for the printed electronics market, due to the conductive properties of copper; while its other nanomaterial products can be used in a range of markets, including inks and pigments, functional nanoceramics, printed electronics, and energy capture and storage.

Promethean’s work on copper nanoparticles for textiles and PPE was part of the ACTIn project, funded by innovation investor Newton Fund, which was a collaboration between Mexican and UK companies and research institutes to develop durable antimicrobial textiles for the healthcare sector by embedding nano-copper into polymer fibers, such as nylon, via a melt extrusion process.

According to Promethean Particles, the antimicrobial effect lasted longer than other similar antimicrobial fabrics which weresurface-coated, and therefore lost functionality with each wash. As well as this, when using nano-copper, as opposed to larger copper particles, a smaller mass of active material is reportedly required to achieve the same antimicrobial effect due to the increased ratio of surface-area-to-volume in smaller particles.

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