The University of Technology of Compiègne (UTC) in France has installed antimicrobial copper door handles and push plates throughout its Industrial Design Engineering department to ‘encourage the curiosity of future engineers’ and raise awareness of hand hygiene whilst providing a cleaner environment for students and lecturers.
UTC—located in the Hauts-de-France region—ranks among the leading engineering schools in the world, with nine research laboratories. It is a public establishment with scientific, cultural and professional expertise. Favouring autonomy and interdisciplinary technological research focused on innovation, UTC trains around 4,000 students a year in Master’s degrees and PhDs, giving them the tools to manage the interactions of technology with mankind and society.
50 door handles and 50 push plates made from antimicrobial copper have now been fitted, manufactured and installed by local Cu+ approved company FAVI.
Copper rapidly destroys germs that can be picked up, unseen, from frequently-touched surfaces in the environment, potentially causing an illness. These include hospital superbugs, such as MRSA, and viruses such as Influenza and the ‘winter vomiting bug’, norovirus. Fewer germs on surfaces mean less risk of infections spreading between people touching them.
Professor Emmanuel Corbasson, Senior Research Professor of Industrial Design Engineering, says of the decision to install copper: “These products echo the UTC philosophy, which is one of innovation in terms of pedagogical and environmental approaches to stimulating the creativity of our students. Designed with a new copper alloy— AB+ ®—they take advantage of the antimicrobial properties of copper that have been known since antiquity.
“Each handle is accompanied by a small sign explaining its antimicrobial properties, constantly engaging users and encouraging them to think about the major challenge represented by controlling cross-contamination in high-traffic locations. They also take our students’ wellbeing into consideration, thus making UTC stand out compared to other institutions.”
Copper shares its antimicrobial efficacy with over 500 copper alloys—including brass and bronze—creating a large family of metals collectively called antimicrobial copper. Products such as FAVI’s bear a Cu+ mark, showing they are made from approved, solid copper alloys with antimicrobial efficacy backed by scientific research. These hygienic properties last their full lifetime, as there is no coating or surface treatment to scratch off or wear away.
Touch surfaces made from solid antimicrobial copper are used by hospitals, schools, mass transit hubs, sports facilities and offices around the world to boost other hygiene measures, such as hand washing, cleaning and disinfection, to help reduce the spread of infections.
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