Fabrics are widely used in hospitals and many other settings for bedding, clothing, and face masks; however, microbial pathogens can survive on surfaces for a long time, leading to microbial transmission. Coatings of metallic particles on fabrics have been widely used to eradicate pathogens. However, current metal particle coating technologies encounter numerous issues such as nonuniformity, processing complexity, and poor adhesion. To overcome these issues, an easy-to-control and straightforward method is reported to coat a wide range of fabrics by using gallium liquid metal (LM) particles to facilitate the deposition of liquid metal copper alloy (LMCu) particles. Gallium particles coated on the fabric provide nucleation sites for forming LMCu particles at room temperature via galvanic replacement of Cu2+ ions. The LM helps promote strong adhesion of the particles to the fabric. The presence of the LMCu particles can eradicate over 99% of pathogens (including bacteria, fungi, and viruses) within 5 min, which is significantly more effective than control samples coated with only Cu. The coating remains effective over multiple usages and against contaminated droplets and aerosols, such as those encountered in facemasks. This facile coating method is promising for generating robust antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral fabrics and surfaces.
- galvanic replacement
- liquid metal fabric coating