With the goal of contributing to the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, Turkish glass company Şişecam has developed a coating technology that neutralises viruses and bacteria on glass surfaces. It is hoped that glassware products treated with Şişecam’s V-Block coating will help to reduce the contamination risk of the pandemic and will contribute to the normalisation process as global lockdowns begin to ease.
Şişecam developed the V-Block technology at its Science, Technology and Design Centre in July 2020 and completed the necessary official permission processes required by the Turkish Ministry of Health in December. Mass production of the antimicrobial coated glassware products started at the beginning of 2021. The company has applied for a patent to protect its innovation.
Creating the coating
Glassware is indispensable but even a pristine glass surface is known to harbour germs. In response to the global Covid-19 pandemic Şişecam mobilised its corporate R&D team to accelerate research on glassware with permanent antimicrobial properties. The result was V-Block coating: an optical thin film a few nanometres thick that still maintains the transparency and the visual appeal of untreated glass. The active layer contains a carefully adjusted amount of copper. Glass articles are individually treated with Şişecam’s proprietary coating solution which contains copper sulphate pentahydrate as the active ingredient. V-Block coating is applied at the hot end using a chemical vapour deposition (CVD) technique and establishes permanent chemical bonds with glass to attain exceptional durability. Thanks to the highly selective coating process, interior surfaces which come into direct contact with food are not coated.
The contact surface of V-Block inhibits the activity of bacteria, viruses or fungi in its proximity. This is enabled by surface reactions that are catalysed by the carefully engineered surface even when there is no light source to trigger them. V-Block technology also benefits from a special surface texture which features a finely engineered topography. Nanometre scale roughness characteristics are tuned to increase the effective area of contact. Antimicrobial activity is strictly confined to the contact surface; the active ingredients do not leach out upon touch or repeated washing and stay on the glass throughout the useful lifetime of the product.
Meeting product challenges
The size and scope of Şişecam’s range of glassware poses particular challenges for antimicrobial treatments because the product variety is enormous, encompassing myriad different shapes, sizes and wall thickness. During production these differences translate into vastly different line speeds and temperature profiles across the range. To tackle such challenges across its Paşabahçe brand of tableware the company had to rethink and redesign the conventional CVD process.
Şişecam’s production technology establishes strong chemical bonds between the glass substrate and the deposited coating and with its CVD technology it can handle complex shaped articles with exceptional thickness uniformity. The new process is robust, flexible and cost-effective. Şişecam’s R&D team is now actively working to adapt V-Block Technology for use on other glass products.
Şişecam delivers its innovative solutions and value-added products to customers in more than 150 countries. Glassware products treated with V-Block Technology are offered in many markets across the world.