Copper alloys for antimicrobial touch surfaces – Research on practical and scientific aspects

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PhD Monika Walkowicz, PhD Piotr Osuch, PhD Anna Różańska, Prof. Beata Smyrak, Prof. Andrzej Mamala, PhD Agnieszka Chmielarczyk,
Prof. Tadeusz Knych, Prof. Ewa Rudnik, MSc. Dorota Romaniszyn, Prof. Małgorzata Bulanda

The paper presents original research results on attempts to optimize functional properties of copper
and its alloys intended for antimicrobial touch surfaces. The laboratory research to develop surface
properties of ETP copper includes determination of its susceptibility to tarnishing by exposure to
oxidizing atmosphere at increased temperature, as a laboratory simulation of real-life exploitation
conditions. The heat-treated material’s oxide layer thickness was examined by chronopotentiometry.
The issue of pure copper’s tarnishing and above-mentioned investigations led to the selection
and optimization of the copper alloys’ chemical composition in order to choose a tarnishingresistant
copper alloy, with the antimicrobial efficacy of pure copper. In the next step the selected
copper alloys’ antimicrobial efficacy was determined by microbiological procedures. In the paper
the authors will introduce the issue and focus attention on the relevant materials and microbiological
aspects of testing the efficiency of antimicrobial copper-based alloys.

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