What is nanosilver?

Material mixed with nanosilver — you read that again and again. But what exactly is nanosilver? And why is it antibacterial?

Reading time: ca. 5:00 min.

Antibacterial action of nanosilver

Wash your hands properly, sneeze or cough into the crook of your arm: These are behaviours that we teach the youngest ones in our society. In addition to these behaviours, high hygiene standards must be adhered to, especially in hospitals, doctors' practices and care facilities. The antibacterial effect of nanosilver can make the crucial difference.

Surgery team in the surgery room | insights by LAMILUX

What is nanosilver? And how does it work? Silver has an antibacterial, i.e. germ-killing effect. The actual active ingredients here are the silver ions (Ag+), which are released by moisture and migrate to the surface. There, they attack germs in different ways. Basically, these germs are prevented from multiplying in this way.

Germs, bacteria, viruses: What is the difference?

In everyday life, we often speak of germs, but this term is already relatively old. Today, medical professionals talk primarily about pathogens. By this they mean bacteria, yeasts, fungi and viruses. Some of these types of pathogens have their metabolism and can multiply themselves by cell division. Viruses are also classified as pathogens, but they differ from bacteria, yeasts and fungi. Viruses do not have their own metabolism and are therefore always dependent on a host in order to reproduce themselves. Silver has a killing effect on germs. This is why it is advisable to add nanosilver to materials in order to take advantage of this effect.

What is the difference between silver and nanosilver?

Germs, bacteria, viruses: What is the difference?Biologist Gregor Schneider explains that the difference between nanosilver and other silver active ingredients lies in the particle size. The following applies: The smaller a particle is, the more ions are released. This also means that much less raw material is needed to achieve a corresponding effect. Nanoparticles can thus also be incorporated into very thin fibres, for example microfibre cleaning cloths. In addition, almost all surfaces can be equipped with nanosilver.

Effect of nanosilver on surfaces

Theoretically, nanosilver can be incorporated into powder coatings and lacquers of all kinds: whether water-based, solvent-based or UV-curing. A major advantage: Nanoparticles cannot be rubbed out of surfaces. So, once they have been incorporated, they last the entire product lifetime. In the case of lacquer, the silver particles can only be effective as long as the lacquer is intact.

And what happens now with germs on a surface that is equipped with nanosilver particles? Simply put: The germs are not only prevented from multiplying, but are also killed. Ag+ silver ions have three modes of action:

Effect of nanosilver on bacteria | insights by LAMILUX
Triple effect of nanosilver on bacteria

1. The interaction of silver ions with the cell membrane leads to reduced adhesion of the germs to their substrate, and thus to poor growth conditions.

2. The ions block the cellular enzymes of the germs, thereby interfering with the metabolism and reducing the vitality of the germs.

3. The silver ions cause damage inside the cell due to irreversible interaction with sulphur- and phosphate-containing amino acids and proteins, preventing DNA replication.

Where are nanosilver surfaces used?

Where are nanosilver surfaces used? Nanosilver effectively combats bacteria. And so, effectively that, above all, rooms with particularly high hygiene requirements can benefit from this. Just think of an operating theatre: Employees wash their hands in for several minutes, wear special surgical clothing, gloves and mouth and nose protection. The instruments are sterilized and the operating theatre is cleaned and disinfected. Everything to protect the patient from germs as much as possible.

In addition, disinfection of surfaces is essential: Nanosilver can help with this. This is because the treatment of a surface with disinfectant is not always uniformly effective over all areas. In addition, the effect of manual disinfection often does not last until the next regular cleaning. This means that the multiplication of germs increases exponentially again from the time of disinfection.

24 hours curve bacteria on surfaces | insights by LAMILUX
Over 99.9% of all bacteria are killed within 24 hours on a nanosilver-equipped surface

This new growth is caused, for example, by the arrival or re-contamination with fresh germs. A critical level is often reached before the growth of the germ population is interrupted by a new cleaning and disinfection process.

A nanosilver-equipped surface has a clear advantage: Nanosilver immediately prevents the exponential growth of germs. And permanently disinfects the surface.

The antibacterial properties of nanosilver are not only ideally used in wall and ceiling coatings in hospitals and operating theatres, but also in food transport or food processing.

The solution

[Translate to English:] Germ deposition on surfaces without LAMILUX Antibac | insights by LAMILUX
Bacteria deposition on GRP without nanosilver after 24 hours
Prevents germ deposition on surfaces with LAMILUX Antibac | insights by LAMILUX
Bacteria deposition on GRP with nanosilver after 24 hours

LAMILUX Antibac was developed during a three-year research project together with scientists and physicians in a way that it remains intact for decades, even under the most adverse conditions, i.e. aggressive cleaning agents or strong temperature fluctuations. The antibacterial effect is maintained throughout the product lifetime.

Success story: Nanosilver in fibre-reinforced composites

Wall coatings in hospitals, operating theatres or the food industry should have very good mechanical properties in addition to high hygienic properties. These properties are combined with a fibre-reinforced composite construction material in which nanosilver particles are permanently incorporated. With scientists and health professionals, LAMILUX has developed a highly effective, resistant material, which is able to sustainably enhance hygiene standards worldwide in many areas of life. The fibre-reinforced composite features a special nanosilver surface which creates an anti-bacterial effect. The integrated nanosilver kills germs within a few hours.

Alongside clinical use, such as for wall coatings in operating theatres, the antibacterial material also has numerous areas of application in the food industry as a lightweight construction material. Precisely where high hygiene standards, such as HACCP, must be met: This starts with cold stores and refrigerated vehicles and extends to processing areas. LAMILUX Antibac makes use of the triple effect of nanosilver against bacteria of all kinds. Over 99.9% of all bacteria on the surface are killed within 24 hours. This provides additional safety and minimization of risks through continuous self-disinfection at every point, thereby supporting the manual disinfection routine.