Antimicrobial, mechanical and thermal studies of silver particle-loaded polyurethane.
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Silver-particle-incorporated polyurethane films were evaluated for antimicrobial activity towards two different bacteria: Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). Distributed silver particles sourced from silver nitrate, silver lactate and preformed silver nanoparticles were mixed with polyurethane (PU) and variously characterized by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), fourier transform infra-red (FTIR) spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD) and contact angle measurement. Antibacterial activity against E.coli was confirmed for films loaded with 10% (w/w) AgNO3, 1% and 10% (w/w) Ag lactate and preformed Ag nanoparticles. All were active against S. aureus, but Ag nanoparticles loaded with PU had a minor effect. The apparent antibacterial performance of Ag lactate-loaded PU is better than other Ag ion-loaded films, revealed from the zone of inhibition study. The better performance of silver lactate-loaded PU was the likely result of a porous PU structure. FESEM and FTIR indicated direct interaction of silver with the PU backbone, and XRD patterns confirmed that face-centred cubic-type silver, representative of Ag metal, was present. Young's modulus, tensile strength and the hardness of silver containing PU films were not adversely affected and possibly marginally increased with silver incorporation. Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) indicated greater thermal stability.