Ashis Sinha I Bokaro: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-ISM) Dhanbad has developed a wash-resistant antiviral and antibacterial coating of silver nanoparticles for textiles. This coating makes the textile (cloth) super-hydrophobic may also kill Novel Coronavirus when the virus comes in contact.
A three-member team of ISM scientists headed by Aditya Kumar, professor of chemical engineering, Kalpita Nath and Poonam Chauhan conducted successful research on the efficacy of the coating on E. coli (bacteria) and A. Niger (fungus). Though, tests on COVID-19 are yet to be conducted, informed a Media Cell official of IIT (ISM).
Now, we are at the final stage of testing the coated cloth for its anti-viral property, specifically for COVID-19. After up-scaling of this technology at IIT(ISM) Dhanbad, these coated clothes can be made available at affordable prices to the mass, said the official.
We have started the study soon after the WHO recommended the use of triple-layered masks and PPE kits for COVID-19 prevention, said Aditya.
“These PPE kits can only be used one time and health care workers get infected while removing PPEs and also during disposal of the infected PPEs. Additionally, it is not easy to work with PPE kits put on over multilayered clothing, particularly, in hot and humid seasons,” he added.
If, the clothes themselves are made anti-bacterial and anti-viral, then multi-layered clothing and full body cover PPE kits will not be needed; also the spread of the virus by transferring from one surface to the other will get reduced considerably, said Aditya.
Keeping above in mind, we have developed a method to prepare a facile and durable super-hydrophobic coating of silver nanoparticles on the surface of cloth using an in-situ UV irradiation method followed by its modification with the Perfluorodecyltriethoxysilane, he said.
Explaining the facts of their research Aditya said, “Super-hydrophobicity is a phenomenon which shows that the water droplet does not stick to the surface at all and rolls off easily from it. At lab-scale, this coating is found to have excellent chemical and thermal stability making it reusable multiple times even after repeated washing.”
The coated cloth exhibits exceptional self-cleaning and stain-resistant properties leading to complete non-adherence of dirt, liquid droplets and stain (for example, food, rust, ink, etc.) on the cloth surface, he said.
He said, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of the coated cloth were confirmed by carrying out E. coli (bacteria) and A. Niger (fungus) culture studies, respectively. “This coating is imbibed with silver nanoparticles, which is a proven anti-viral agent. It inhibits the attachment of the virus on the surface of the cell itself,” stated Aditya.
“When microbes come in contact with the coated cloth, they are repelled by the superhydrophobic nature of the coating. If they somehow touched the cloth surface, they get killed by Ag+ (silver) ions present in the coating.
The Ag+ ions strongly inhibit microbial growth through suppression of the respiratory enzymes and electron transport components and interference with the DNA functions,” Aditya explained.
Since silver is also non-toxic in nature to humans at very low concentrations, the silver nano-particle coating becomes human friendly. The super-hydrophobic nature of the coating combined with the anti-viral agent silver, makes it a potential anti-COVID-19 coating, he said.