They said the material – made with resin and anti-viral agents, can pierce the cell membrane of germs to kill them, with 90 percent destroyed after 10 minutes.
The leader of the research, Associate Professor Chris Lo, said the team tested the material on recycling bin handles, doorknobs and lift buttons in public places.
“We’re not just looking at the anti-microbial properties, we’re also looking at the physical properties, whether they’re durable, whether with a lot of visitors, citizens used or touched that area, will it break down or will it become very dirty,” he explained.
He said the results were promising, with the material displaying consistent anti-bacterial functions.
Lo added that he hopes to see the material used widely, especially in hospitals and elderly homes.
“When you see the material, this kind of resin material printout covering a place that you have to touch, like a doorknob…at least you know that the risk is a little bit lower if you just touch that surface,” he said.
The researchers said the material also went through tests on how long its anti-microbial properties last.
“Based on our latest test report, the antiviral activities, especially the human coronavirus, the same structure as the Covid-19…it works over 90%… after one year’s ageing, and then for three years’ ageing sample, it’s still 85 percent,” he said.
Lo pointed out that the material in itself is not very expensive – with a lift button costing less than HK$10 to cover – but added that it takes time for the 3-D printing.
He said his team is speaking to a private company and the government about how the material can be adopted.