How Silver Enhances Healthcare And Optical Effects

In its monthly industry release, The Silver Institute reported once again new applications of silver in products across several industries. The Silver Institute has written extensively how silver has helped breakthrough improvements in product development and industries; read previous articles herehere, here, and here.

Electrical Maker Switches to Antimicrobial Silver

Switches and wallplates from Leviton Manufacturing, Co. now offer silver treatment to protect against harmful bacteria. The Melville, New York, maker of electrical equipment is responding to consumer interest in antibacterial surfaces for everyday fixtures such as light switches that eliminate germs that can be easily transferred to those who frequently touch them. This is especially true in hospitals, offices and healthcare facilities, as well as in public areas such as restrooms.

“Leviton’s devices are intended to help keep frequently touched surfaces of switches, wallplates and other electrical wiring devices clean of bacteria and microbes,” notes Michael Mattei, Vice President and General Manager of Leviton Commercial & Industrial. “As a result, we have developed a line of antimicrobial treated wiring devices that inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold, fungi and mildew, helping to keep switches and wallplates cleaner and safer from cross contamination.”

Antimicrobial-treated devices from Leviton are made with materials that include a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered additive to protect the devices against the growth of harmful bacteria on their surfaces. Silver ions in the materials act as the antimicrobial agent by inhibiting cell division and preventing bacteria from reproducing. These materials have been tested to the internationally recognized JIS Z 2801:2000 industrial standard test protocol for measuring antimicrobial efficacy and have proven to show a consistent 99.9 percent microbial reduction rate against a broad range of bacteria including E-coli and MRSA, Mattei says.

The current offering of antimicrobial-treated devices includes a 20-ampere toggle switch available in single-pole and three-way functionalities and stainless steel wallplates available in single and double-gang configurations. The company plans to release Decora versions of the switch and wallplate in the coming months as well as additional color options of all antimicrobial-treated devices.

‘Nanojewelry’ Relies on Special Color Properties of Silver Nanoparticles

An object gets its color according to the hues of the spectrum it absorbs. A banana absorbs yellow. Even if the banana is split or broken apart, the same colors are absorbed and the yellow color stays the name. Not so for silver nanoparticles. If a silver nanoparticle is broken apart, we experience a new and random color.

According to Sofie Boons and Jodie Melbourne, researchers at Imperial College London, the optical appearance of the created pieces is determined by the properties of the nanoparticles contained inside, including their quantity, shape, substance, size and degree of dispersion.

The researchers have spent over a year developing resins that contain nanogold and nanosilver particles and have experimented with different quantities and sizes of these particles. Their work has resulted in a range of differently-colored beads with unique optical properties. For example, when light shines through a bead it will have one color but its shadow will have another color. The color will change based on the bead’s surroundings and the angles of light that hit the beads.

Because each bead is different, the team has developed a hallmark that is stamped on a piece of metal contained in each bead. The marking notes the size, shape and quantity of the particles inside. Every bead also comes with its own certificate detailing the material and certifying its authenticity

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