23.04.2018 change 23.04.2018

Antibacterial handrail at AGH in Kraków

Source: AGH Source: AGH

Researchers at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków developed Poland`s first demonstration antimicrobial system in the form of railings and stair handrails, announced the university spokeswoman Anna Żmuda-Muszyńska.

According to the AGH release sent to PAP, the uniqueness of the solution proposed by the Faculty of Non-Ferrous Metals is that the entire structure is made of a special copper alloy that has antibacterial properties.

The solution was created for all public places that can effectively fight the spread of pathogenic microorganisms.

Hospitals, stations, airports, buses, trams, schools, colleges, sports halls, cinemas - these are just a few examples of places where a system of antimicrobial copper handrails, handles and other products with touch surfaces could be used.

Copper, characterized by high electrical conductivity, is mainly used in the energy sector. But it also has a valuable pro-health effect, known since antiquity. For example, the Egyptians used copper to treat drinking water, the Persians used it in the treatment of fractures and injuries, and Hippocrates, considered the father of medicine, advised using copper in the treatment of open wounds and skin irritations.

According to the release, currently one of the most common routes for spreading dangerous infections are the surfaces of door handles, lighting switches, stair handrails and many other products that surround us every day. Made of plastic or steel, they can be easily replaced with copper or its alloys, antimicrobial properties of which consist in the permanent elimination of bacteria from the touch surfaces in one to a few hours.

In addition to the AGH University of Science and Technology, the Provincial Specialist Hospital in Wroclaw is among the institutions that have implemented copper products in the form of handrails, beds, chairs, drip racks and light switches. The company Solaris has equipped its bus Uribino with a system of antibacterial copper handrails.

"Civilization development goes hand in hand with the growing number of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains, resulting in an increasing number of infections in public places. An antimicrobial system may prove to be a very effective tool to help reduce contact infections" - the release reads.

Railings and stair handrails installed on three floors of a staircase and consisting of 5,000 various parts were developed as part of a research and development project financed by the National Centre for Research and Development.

PAP - Science in Poland, Beata Kołodziej

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