If Copper Fights Viruses and Bacteria Why Isn’t It More Widely Used in Industry?

If Copper Fights Viruses and Bacteria Why Isn’t It More Widely Used in Industry?
July 13, 2020 admin

Nowadays, more than ever, it’s crucial to work, play and live as safely as possible. With the world’s focus being on hygiene over the past few months, it’s made people from all industries and walks of life think about how they can protect themselves as well as those around them. What really interests us as metal fabrication Perth experts is that there is a real buzz about copper being useful for killing fungi, bacteria and viruses right now. Naturally, we are very eager to find out more about this subject as well as to inform our clients. So, we’ve created this blog to discuss the amazing properties of copper.


About Copper


Copper is shiny, soft and highly malleable in its elemental form, therefore, it is mostly used as an alloy. Alloys are either comprised of two metals or a non-metal and a metal. For example, brass is a mixture of zinc and copper and bronze comprises of tin and copper. Additionally, copper is a great electricity conductor so is commonly found in electrical wiring.  It’s popularly used in coins too because it resists corrosion from water and air. Oh, and let’s not forget that copper is also used in the manufacture of fungicides and water pipes.


A Little of the History


In the ancient Babylonian and Egyptian armies, soldiers used to scrape their bronze (tin and copper) swords into any cuts or wounds they sustained in order to reduce infection. Additionally, information from the Royal Society of Chemistry tells us that the word ‘copper’ means ‘from the island of Cyprus.’ Copper was named this based on the huge amounts that were acquired by the Roman Empire. The Romans used copper in their coins and cookware among other things. And, you might not even have heard of it but even before the Romans, Chaldeans and Sumerians are believed to have been some of the very first people who used copper widely.


Copper and Cholera


The 1865 Paris cholera epidemic hit the city hard. Of a population of 1,677,000 people, 6,176 were struck down fatally. Intriguingly, only 45 people died of the 30,000 who worked in copper-related industries. This works out as an average of 0.5 people per 1,000 as opposed to the  3.7 in every 1,000 people who succumbed to the disease in the general population.


The physician Victor Burq looked at this information then visited 400 different factories and businesses throughout Paris that used copper. He also collected reports on 200,000 people from Russia, England and Sweden. Studying these led him to conclude in 1867 to the French Academies of Science and Medicine that copper or its alloys bronze and brass applied to the skin during the cholera epidemic was a successful way to prevent catching the disease.


How About the Present Day?


There are so many people and businesses that are getting excited about all the data and research that indicates copper is great for killing all sorts of nasties. For example, there is a theme park in Chile that’s replaced the majority of its frequently touched surfaces with copper. In addition, over in France, more and more hospitals are installing copper rather than traditional stainless steel surfaces. Interestingly, stainless steel has a reputation for collecting bacteria when it’s not regularly sterilised, so copper really does seem to be the better option.


So, Why Don’t Engineering Perth Companies Use More Copper?

There are so many benefits to using copper in different applications, especially where viruses and germs are concerned. Taking everything into account, why don’t more engineers, designers, architects and so on take advantage of copper’s amazing bacteria-zapping effects? Perhaps it’s simply the fact that not many people actually realise that copper has the qualities it does. In addition, stainless steel has a solid reputation for doing well under wet and/or humid conditions so it’s no wonder it’s so widely utilised.


Another positive regarding stainless steel fabrication Perth companies is that they know that the material wears well. Copper is considerably softer, so it scratches and dents easily – not so great in terms of manufacturing! Another negative when it comes to copper is that it’s an expensive material in comparison with stainless steel.


Something else to consider when it comes to using copper is that it is notoriously difficult to maintain. If you’ve ever seen copper that hasn’t been consistently cleaned, you’ll have noticed that it rapidly shows a greenish patina (copper oxide). Even when copper looks this way, it still continues to carry on fighting germs, however, it just doesn’t look that great. What this also means is that when you use a lot of copper, there will be higher cleaning bills to pay for. Let’s face it, no one wants to pay a fortune for that! Stainless steel, in contrast, always looks great even with minimal upkeep.


Focusing on Customer Safety


InLine Engineering Services is the local heavy engineering and maintenance services team you can count on. We work with diverse sectors including the mining, resources and marine industries. Since 2001 we have built our reputation for innovative, economical and safe solutions. Through the years, we have always gone above and beyond customer expectations to deliver solutions that will suit them. So, if you have an idea for a project, we can work with you to make your vision become a reality.


We have vast experience of safely addressing all challenges that relate to your fluctuating and changing requirements. Our team is kept constantly up to date with all the latest safe work practices so that your job goes according to plan while being carried out professionally and with safety at the heart of everything we do. We are always on hand to advise you with regards to every aspect of your project. We have an incredibly positive reputation for timely service at competitive prices. So, to find out more about our safe working practices that are so crucial at this time, just get in touch.