Polymers with exposed graphene edges: new antibacterial materials for medtech applications
|Coordinator||DENTSPLY IH AB - ASTRA TECH AKTIEBOLAG|
|Funding from Vinnova||SEK 3 052 000|
|Project duration||May 2017 - June 2019|
|Venture||Strategic innovation program SIO Grafen|
Purpose and goal
The aim was to develop a cost-effective manufacturing process of polymer materials with an antibacterial surface. In conclusion this has been achieved. A relatively simple manufacturing process has been developed, comprising extrusion with subsequent cutting and etching, that can be translated to industrial scale. Using the developed manufacturing process a surface with very high antibacterial effect (>99.9%) can be produced. The use of the antibacterial material in medical devices depends on how cost-effective a scaled-up manufacturing process can become.
Expected results and effects
A fundamental understanding of the developed manufacturing process has been acquired and relevant factor values have been identified. With uniform distribution and orientation of the graphene flakes the graphene content greatly effects the antibacterial efficiency. This is most likely directly linked to the spacing between the exposed graphene edges. The project has submitted two scientific papers for publication and Wellspect has filed one patent application. Work on scale-up of the process to estimate the cost of the antibacterial surface is needed for further progress.
Planned approach and implementation
2Dfab provided graphene samples and knowledge on graphene characteristics. The two Chalmers research groups provided processing of graphene containing polymers (Kádár group) and evaluation of the produced materials antibacterial properties (Mijakovic group). Wellspect provided user and manufacturer perspective and requirements for medical device products. The effects of polymer matrix properties, extrusion parameters and graphene content were investigated as well as steps for cutting and etching of extruded samples to achieve the desired antibacterial surfaces.