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Copper vs. Silver, Which Antimicrobial is Best?
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Copper vs. Silver, Which Antimicrobial is Best?

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The modern workspace is an ever-evolving environment, constantly adapting to new challenges and technological advancements. In recent years, one of the most pressing challenges has been maintaining a hygienic and safe workplace, particularly in light of global health concerns. The presence of microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, protozoans, and fungi in workspaces can pose significant health risks. This concern has led to a surge in the importance of antimicrobials, substances specifically designed to combat these harmful microorganisms, in the office environment.

Antimicrobials are not a new concept; they have been used in various settings to control the spread of germs for years. The National Infection Prevention Control (NIPC) defines antimicrobials as products that "kill or slow the spread of microorganisms." This definition encompasses a broad range of agents, from simple cleaning products to more sophisticated technologies designed for specific applications. In the context of the modern workspace, the use of antimicrobials has become increasingly important as businesses strive to provide safe and healthy environments for their employees and visitors.

One innovative approach in the realm of antimicrobial solutions is the development of antimicrobial films, particularly those utilizing metals like copper and silver. These metals are known for their biocidal properties, effectively killing or inhibiting a wide range of bacteria through the process of ionization. But when it comes to choosing the most effective antimicrobial agent for workspace environments, the debate often centers around copper versus silver. Both metals have their unique mechanisms of action against bacteria, but they differ significantly in their effectiveness under various environmental conditions.

The choice between copper and silver for antimicrobial surfaces in the workspace is more than just a matter of preference; it's about understanding the science behind these materials and their effectiveness in real-world conditions. A closer examination of their biocidal activities reveals intriguing differences, particularly in terms of the environmental conditions required for their effectiveness. For instance, silver's antimicrobial action is highly dependent on moisture, which might not be a consistent factor in many office settings.

On the other hand, copper's effectiveness as an antimicrobial agent is not limited by humidity levels or temperature, making it a more versatile and reliable option for various office environments. The technical aspects of how copper and silver interact with bacterial cells - through their ionic states and the resulting impact on bacteria - further underscore the superiority of copper in providing consistent antimicrobial protection.

Recognizing the importance of maintaining a hygienic workspace, it becomes clear that antimicrobial solutions like copper films are not just an added luxury but a necessity in the modern office environment. They serve as a crucial line of defense against the spread of germs, especially on high-touch surfaces that are frequently used by multiple individuals throughout the day. By integrating technologies like DFEND Antimicrobial Film, businesses can significantly enhance the safety and cleanliness of their workspaces.

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The utilization of antimicrobial films in the workplace is applicable to a wide array of common touchpoints, from lobby tablets and elevator buttons to conference room management systems and water coolers. In today's blog, we delve into the science behind copper's effectiveness as an antimicrobial agent and explore its practical applications in various office settings. We also invite businesses to consider how integrating such advanced bacteria defense technologies can contribute to a safer, healthier, and more productive workplace.

Antimicrobials are a useful tool to fight the spread of germs. The NIPC defines antimicrobials as products that "kill or slow the spread of microorganisms. Microorganisms include bacteria, viruses, protozoans, and fungi such as mold and mildew.

Antimicrobial Film

Copper and Silver are commonly used to create antimicrobial surfaces, but which one offers the most effective protection against harmful bacteria?

Both metals can kill a broad spectrum of bacteria through ionization. Copper and Silver ions attach themselves to bacteria, disrupting the cell walls and eventually bursting the membranes.

Here's the catch, silver requires a wet environment to release it's bacteria destroying ions. One medical study, evaluating the effectives of Silver and Copper antimicrobials, found Silver's biocidal activity to be measurable at 95°F and at 95% relative humidity. At room temperature and typical indoor humidity (20%), Silver's antimicrobial activity was nearly non-existent. Without moisture, Silver is an ineffective biocide. 

Copper, however, is effective at any humidity level and temperature. Even if you level the playing field by comparing Copper and Silver in a humid environment, Copper still takes the advantage. This is due to Copper's two ionic states (Cu+ and Cu++) vs. Silver's one (Ag+). To top it off, Cu++ is superoxide that is extremely toxic to bacteria.

Overall, Copper is the superior biocide making it an excellent material for antimicrobial film.

With our copper antimicrobial technology, you can protect high touch “hot spots” between regular cleaning and experience advanced bacteria defense. Inhibit 99.9% of surface germs by applying DFEND Antimicrobial Film to commonly touched surfaces.

Common use cases for DFEND Antimicrobial Film:

  • Lobby Tablets & Displays
  • Elevator Buttons
  • Handrails
  • Conference Room Management Tablets & Displays
  • Drinking Fountains & Water Coolers
  • Keypads
  • Door Handles

Antimicrobial use cases

Interested in purchasing PowerBx DFEND Antimicrobial Film?

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antimicrobial application