Biologically Inspired: Fighting Germs Using HCIO Hydrogels with Smectites

J. Gödeker, A. Drewer, T. Lamont

Hypochlorous acid (HClO) is formed in the white blood cells of all mammals [1]. As part of a mechanism that developed several millions of years ago, it also helps the human body to protect against pathogens that enter it. This makes the weak acid a nature-based option for disinfection. Despite this, a disadvantage of water-thin solutions of hypochlorous acid is that they have significantly limited anti-microbial potential due to the reduced contact time. Hydrogels overcome this limitation and lead to improved and more sustainable use. Due to the high reactivity of hypochlorous acid, common additives such as polymer thickeners and natural clays are not suitable. Synthetic smectite clays – of which the presented PURABYK-R 5500 is one example – are very similar in structure to natural clays. However, due to their subsequent technical development, synthetic smectite clays exhibit better stability and are therefore very well suited to forming these hydrogels. They stabilize the hypochlorous acid in the required pH value range and are free from components that impair the activity of HClO. These unique additives are produced under controlled conditions from naturally occurring inorganic mineral sources. They offer the possibility of using structures from nature, paired with a very high purity and consistent quality. Their great potential is presented here using PURABYK-R 5500 as an example.

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