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Novel Self-cleaning, anti-bacterial coatings, preventing disease transmission on everyday touched surfaces

Novel Self-cleaning, anti-bacterial coatings, preventing disease transmission on everyday touched surfaces

English EN

Self-cleaning surfaces

An EU team developed a self-cleaning, antibacterial material for common surfaces. When tested in hospitals, the substance reduced the infection risk by over 60 %.


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In the EU alone, approximately 3 million people per year contract infections from hospitals, of whom about 25 000 die as a result. Self-cleaning antibacterial surface coatings would help to reduce the infection rate. The EU-funded SELFCLEAN (Novel self-cleaning, anti-bacterial coatings, preventing disease transmission on everyday touched surfaces) project successfully developed such a coating. The new coatings are targeted for use in hospitals, schools, restaurants and anywhere else constituting a risk of contracting bacterial infections. The electroplated substance meets an important social need. Consisting of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles embedded in a tin-nickel matrix, the coating enables a photocatalytic process. The process responds to typical indoor levels of visible light, and UV, giving the material self-cleaning antibacterial properties. Consortium members fully tested five sizes of nanoparticles, and progressed two for further testing. Researchers also designed a suitable sol-gel production process, intended to be scalable, versatile and safe. They then tested the specially designed electroplating equipment and the material. Following optimisation, two sets of equipment were fabricated to coat real objects on an industrial scale. The manufacturing equipment passed all tests. The material was also designed to be durable and aesthetic, and was shown to be so. Researchers coated contact plates, door knobs and cabinet handles using SELFCLEAN’s coating technique. Results from such objects installed in a hospital showed a 60 % reduction in infection risk, and in some cases over 80 %. The project’s novel optimised pulse current electroplating process enabled a high deposition rate of TiO2 nanoparticles and uniform deposition of the matrix. The process can be adapted to an industrial process that is efficient in terms of materials and energy. Other activities included development of a website, patent searching and filing, and also an interim usage plan and final exploitation plan. Such work showed a large potential market for the product, including 15 000 European hospitals and over 100 000 schools in Denmark, Greece, Spain, France and the United Kingdom. SELFCLEAN’s new material offers health and business benefits. The coating significantly reduces risk of bacterial infection, while also promising high profitability for the SME partners.


Self-cleaning, antibacterial, infection, coatings, SELFCLEAN, electroplating

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 314988


Closed project

  • Start date

    1 March 2013

  • End date

    28 February 2015

Funded under:


  • Overall budget:

    € 1 526 044,10

  • EU contribution

    € 1 139 000

Coordinated by: