Antimicrobial additives effectively combats germs present on the surface

Posted by Ajinkya on January 28th, 2021

Antimicrobial additives come in many forms and are designed to combat the germs that cause many concrete flooring problems. Used either before the pieces are made or during the pouring process, these additives make the surface less inhospitable for the germs that naturally corrode concrete. These additives can either be applied directly to the finished piece or injected into the mix during the manufacturing process. Some common additive materials include borax, calcium oxide, bleach, carrageenans, copolymers, monomer-free rubber, and surfactants. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Borax is often used in the manufacturing of concrete and other flooring surfaces because it provides a smooth, slippery surface. However, this surface can promote the growth of airborne bacteria and viruses, particularly when moisture is applied to the material. So, it is commonly used as an antimicrobial additive for driveways, walkways, and other surfaces exposed to outdoor elements. Although its use as a protective coating is desirable, the material has other uses. Because it leaves a clear, non-reflective finish on the concrete, it can be used to diminish the need for harsh UV rays that fade engineered concrete and can even be added to swimming pools to keep bacteria from developing in the water. Additionally, it can help prevent petroleum contamination and increase the structural integrity of driveways and walkways by eliminating the need for sealants and finishes.

Another form of antimicrobial additives include polymers and polyurethane foams. These materials have antimicrobial properties similar to those of medical-grade plastics. Used as protective coatings on driveways and walkways, these materials are most commonly seen on asphalt and concrete because they have relatively low moisture absorption rates.

The application of antimicrobial additives also must take into account the introduction of coloring and other penetrant substances. While most such additives are applied after the primary application to produce an attractive and clear finish, some may be applied prior to their use in order to enhance its use and increase its effectiveness. Common additives include herbicides, surfactants, resins, UV stabilizers, and pH adjusters. The use of such additives is often required in industries where their products would be affected. However, most additives do not require any additional processing before use, although it is recommended that manufacturers check with their suppliers about the exact formulation and application methods to avoid possible interactions with additional chemicals and ingredients.

A final type of antimicrobial coatings and additives are those that create additional "life" or "bioavailability" in a surface. These substances add to or enhance the biological processes through which bacteria become resistant to antimicrobial agents. Examples of such substances that make up this type of coating include UV stabilizers, such as urea, thymol, and sulfates, and other organic UV stabilizers, resins, and organic UV disinfectants. These substances are widely used in a wide range of applications, from the insole and anti-skid finishes to barrier coatings and antibiotics.

As these antimicrobial additives and coatings continue to be developed and produce even more benefits, their use will continue to expand. However, the addition of another additive - whether it is bioactive or non-biodegradable - could make it less useful.

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