Antimicrobial grab pole project gets results

We’ve recently had some exciting results from one of our collaborative projects, which we wanted to share. For the last 12 months we’ve been working with six partners to produce a lightweight, permanently antimicrobial grab pole for use in public transport. The aim was to provide a lighter and more hygienic alternative to traditional steel grab poles, which could help increase confidence in the safety of public transport and support the UK’s decarbonisation efforts.

The results

Following rigorous testing against the ISO standard 22196 (which measures antibacterial activity), we found that our grab poles killed 99.9% of bacteria found on the surface. This means they will help to protect the people who use them from dangerous bacterial infections such as E.coli and MRSA.

They are also 70% lighter than mild steel poles, yet offer the same mechanical performance, as shown in mechanical and environmental tests. Lightweight parts obviously increase the payload/range of electric vehicles and reduce emissions in petrol/diesel vehicles.

Our grab poles also performed extremely well in heat aging and wear tests, showing no deterioration in their antibacterial properties. This is an improvement on existing coatings such as antimicrobial paint, where the antimicrobial effect can rapidly wear off. 

Other benefits

There are also other benefits of our composite grab poles, which are made from a braided thermoplastic matrix which uses E-glass and very hard-wearing Nylon as its base materials. For instance, they are:

  • Sustainable, using 98% less energy and creating 97% less waste than traditional composite manufacturing. The poles can also be reshaped and reused at the end of their life
  • Scalable and affordable — they can be produced at high volume (100,000+ per year) and at costs that are comparable with mild steel grab poles.

Shortlisted for an industry award

This project success has led to us being shortlisted for a Composites UK Award 2021, in the category ‘Innovation in Composite Materials’. We’re looking forward to the Awards Dinner on the 3rd November and keeping our fingers crossed.

Find out more

We’ll be giving a presentation about this project at the Advanced Engineering Show in Birmingham on 3rd November. You can also read more about the project here.

If you want to talk more about our antimicrobial manufacturing capabilities, please do contact us.

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Composite Braiding Ltd, Dunstall Park Rd, Allenton, Derby DE24 8HJ, UK