Scientists from a University of Leeds spin-off company have created a specially-engineered textile to prevent deadly hospital-acquired infections.
While hand sanitisers have become commonplace in hospitals to ensure germs are not spread, what if there wasn’t a need to wash your hands at every moment at all? Scientists from a spin-off company at the University of Leeds have created a self-disinfecting material off the back of seven years of research. Testing of the material has shown it can reduce bacteria rates by up to 90 percent.
The material, coined Surfaceskins, was formulated after research found that hospital doors are recognised as a key weak link in hygiene because of the number of times people touch them. Surfaceskins antibacterial door pads work by dispensing a small quantity of alcohol gel onto the pad when it is pushed, to disinfect the surface ready for the next person to use the door. This low-cost device, which incorporates three separate non-woven textiles, is designed to be replaced after seven days or one thousand pushes – whichever comes sooner.
The company has also developed a door handle using the Surfaceskins technology, for doors which open towards you. Surfaceskins are being targeted at other industrial sectors where there is a need for meticulous hand hygiene, such as in catering and hospitality. Surfaceskins is a collaboration between the Nonwovens Innovation and Research Institute Ltd (NIRI) – a spin-off company from the University’s School of Design.