The University of Technology of Compiègne (UTC) in France 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 were fitted, manufactured and installed by local Cu+ approved company FAVI.
Professor Emmanuel Corbasson, Senior Research Professor of Industrial Design Engineering, said 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 and copper alloys are engineering materials that are durable, colourful and recyclable and are widely available in various product forms suitable for a range of manufacturing purposes. Copper and its alloys offer a suite of materials for designers of functional, sustainable and cost-effective products.
Copper and certain copper alloys have intrinsic antimicrobial properties (so-called ‘Antimicrobial Copper’) and products made from these materials have an additional, secondary benefit of contributing to hygienic design. Products made from Antimicrobial Copper are a supplement to, not a substitute for standard infection control practices. It is essential that current hygiene practices are continued, including those related to the cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces.