image of virus, anti-microbial

Copper Preventing Future Pandemics? Research Study Evaluates the Metal’s Anti-Microbial Properties

When working with commercial and industrial manufacturing operations, many companies use specific metals in their applications due to their inherent capabilities. One of the most common metals used is copper, as Belmont Metals offers copper metal, copper alloys, and copper-master alloys such as beryllium copper, lithium copper and zirconium copper to manufacturers, jewelers, artists, and other industries around the world.

Copper is found in numerous places, such as water pipes, faucets, medical machines and other applications. One reason this metal is sought after is because of its anti-microbial capabilities. It prevents the spread of germs along its surface.

Making Viruses Inactive

Clinical research studies have been conducted for years regarding the anti-microbial properties that copper possesses. The recent coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has again shown a positive spotlight on the advantages of copper. In a recent clinical study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, Princeton University and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers have found that COVID-19 is detectable on copper surfaces up to four hours. For plastics and stainless steels, the virus is detectable up to two to three days.

When evaluating why viruses only last on copper for a few hours, the researchers found that the metal’s conductivity is the attributing factor. Copper is very conducive as the electrons are constantly moving back and forth along the metal. Ions are released and interact with oxygen. This interaction causes the generation of free radicals, which are highly reactive uncharged molecules. The free radicals start to destroy the virus’s RNA until the virus becomes inactive on the copper’s surface.

Although distinctions weren’t made between viral or bacterial infections, the study helped to demonstrate that copper could possibly reduce the infection rate that is present in hospitals by 58 percent. Both copper and copper alloys that are commonly referred to as “anti-microbial coppers” have inactivated the coronavirus within a few minutes.

Copper’s Benefits Against Future Pandemics

With this clinical study, researchers believe that by placing more copper products in communal areas and places where there are mass gatherings could help reduce the spread of viruses. Copper can offer additional protections to improve the health of the public.

While this study and other research has continuously shown the benefits of copper, many companies have been reluctant to make purchases of this metal. One of the biggest factors for this issue is the prohibitive costs. In addition, not all applications can use copper because it is a soft metal that can dent.

However, due to the clinical advantages of this metal, manufacturers may start to reconsider using copper more often in their manufacturing processes and to create products used in commercial, residential and public environments. Manufacturers may consider the long-term benefits of fighting against future pandemics will outweigh the initial costs. In addition, companies are looking to mixing the copper with hardier materials such as plastics to create a sturdier material that will still possess some of copper’s anti-microbial capabilities.

To fight future pandemics that can cause significant health and economic turmoil around the world, copper may provide advantages to numerous industries. Here at Belmont Metals, we provide copper metals and copper-based alloys to manufacturers for a range of applications. Find out more about our copper products by contacting our company.