The pandemic has made science turn its eyes to aspects that perhaps had been a little forgotten, such as hygiene and health in public spaces. Contagions must be avoided at all costs, and the mask is not enough because we are constantly touching things at work, the supermarket, public spaces … What if we could get the most used metals to kill viruses? Australian scientists have invented a treatment that converts aluminum into antiviral and antibacterial. An aluminum that kills viruses and bacteria.
Aluminum is one of the most used metals in hospitals, for example, and it is also widely used to make keyboards, door and window knobs, and other objects that we touch constantly.
The Queensland Institute of Technology in Australia has been testing with aluminum alloy 663. After applying a treatment with sodium hydroxide for three hoursYou have seen very interesting changes in aluminum. Sodium hydroxide is what we popularly know by the name of caustic soda, or lye.
As explained in New Atlas, the treatment altered the smooth surface of the aluminum, causing small microscopic cracks and making it hydrophilicthat is, it attracts water.
When viruses and bacteria settle on this aluminum they are attracted to these cracks, getting the outer membranes of these organisms to tear, causing their death. Apparently it is a technique that some insects also use on their wings.
In the tests carried out, all the bacteria that came into contact with this aluminum died in three hours, and the respiratory viruses in two hours. Much shorter lead time than untreated plastic or aluminum. Even after numerous washes, aluminum still maintained its antiviral power.
Since sodium hydroxide is very cheap and readily available, and the treatment is as simple as three hours of soaking the aluminum, they plan to offer their method to manufacturers for use in hospitals, airports, utilities, and elsewhere.