New generation of medical textiles and plastics are of extreme interest for industry and health care sector. Among others the most demanding sector is production of innovative materials with controllable antibacterial properties. As an indication of the end users interest the present market demands are estimated as high as 1.6 billion USD in 2012 with expected growing at a CAGR over 12% in 6 years. In PlasmaTex project we propose to investigate new class of antibacterial coatings containing Ag nanoparticles as bacterial agent with additional barrier layer of 5-50 nm, so called “sandwich” structure, deposited on medical textiles and plastics. The goal of the PlasmaTex project is to investigate physical, chemical and mechanical properties of the coatings deposited by atmospheric pressure plasma. The advantage of plasma deposition is a capability to produce uniform coatings on almost any material with high bonding to the substrate and precise control of bacterial agent release by variation of barrier coating composition and thickness.

OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT AND EXPECTED RESULTS

The main objective of the project is to investigate new class of antibacterial coatings for medical materials. It focuses on plasma assisted deposition of composite nano-coatings on textiles and plastics with possibility to control the release of the antibacterial agent by the use of barrier layers. The work oriented along the value chain focuses on medical textiles with improved antibacterial properties efficiencies and on the up-scaling of environmental friendly and energy effective plasma process. This is complemented by a range of activities from strategic basic research of plasma deposition process and investigation of new class of coatings to tests of new materials and their properties and up-scale of the system. In according with H2020 definitions the Technology readiness level (TRL) of the PlasmaTex is specify as TRL1 and we are planning to achieve during 3 years of the project TRL4 with preliminary demonstration of the results in up-scaled system on TRL5.

 

On the way to achieving the goals of PlasmaTex, a number of scientific objectives can be identified:

 

  1. Investigation of the polymers matrix used for the Ag-composites preparation by variation of precursor: chitosan, hexamethyldisiloxane, poly(vinyl alcohol), mixtures 
  2. Plasma deposition of Ag containing composites with variation of Ag content on medical grade plastics: polyethylenethereftalat, polyamide, and polyurethane 
  3. Plasma deposition of nano-composites on medical textiles: woven and non-woven fiber based fabrics 
  4. Investigation of barrier layers deposition with controllable thickness of 5-50 nm on top of composite coatings 
  5. Analysis of chemical and structural properties of the deposited coatings 
  6. Effect of Ag content and presence of the barrier layer on release of Ag ions from the coatings 
  7. Investigation of mechanical, functional and antibacterial properties of the plasma modified textiles and plastics 
  8. Adaptations of the system to industrial requirements (safety issues, automation, deposition control, speed of the process, stability of work) 
  9. Up-scale of the system (reel-to-reel process, 65 cm width) with evaluation of the performance and costs estimations

 

Successes of PlasmaTex project will contribute to deeper understanding of nano-composite coating properties and wider adoption of a plasma deposition technique for medical materials manufacturing, as an alternative to used nowadays wet chemistry processes having numerous drawbacks.

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