A team of scientists headed by Dr. Chang Su Kim from the Department of Nano-Bio Convergence of the Korea Institute of Materials Science (KIMS) successfully developed a material that offers antibacterial/antiviral properties without altering the physical properties of different commonly used products. KIMS is a government-aided research institute under the Ministry of Science and ICT.
Antibacterial films and coating products are commonly used for door handles, elevator buttons and touch screens. However, because of the low transparency, it is difficult to maintain the material’s antibacterial durability over time and it is easily damaged due to frequent use. It also necessitates an extra step of attaching or producing a film to an existing product.
The KIMS research team created an antibacterial/antiviral additive that produces high metal ions. Antibacterial properties are increased to 99.99% and antiviral properties are increased more than 10 times in 2 hours by simply adding a small amount of additive, about 1–2 weight percent (wt%), to various resins. The mechanical, optical or thermal properties of existing products remain unchanged.
As this material is used as an additive, the ultraviolet (UV) and heat curing processes can be performed on existing products without the need for additional processing. Furthermore, the antibacterial/antiviral additive is made up of non-toxic ingredients that do not contain organic antibacterial agents or nano compounds.
This technology can be widely applied to display films, functional textiles, home appliances/furniture films, window films, interior and exterior materials for automobiles, kitchen/bathroom/sanitary products, and medical supplies. We are conducting mass-production tests together with some companies who would use the material.
Dr. Chang Su Kim, Department of Nano-Bio Convergence, Korea Institute of Materials Science
Dr. Chang Su Kim, the lead researcher, adds, “We will spare no effort to tackle new infectious diseases for the post-COVID-19 era when people's interest in personal hygiene will greatly increase.”
KIMS will continue to discover excellent ideas that have commercial potential and make efforts to materialize and commercialize rapidly from the market point of view. We will do our best to support and encourage the researchers so that we can localize the functional antibacterial/antiviral materials and enter the overseas markets.
Jung-hwan Lee, President, Korea Institute of Materials Science
The Ministry of Science and ICT funded this research, which was supported by the KIMS Fundamental Research Program. The researchers are working on commercializing the technology by promoting the formation of a research institute spin-off company.