Public transit has been repelling those who have to ride them: between crowds and the huge number of surfaces likely to be infected, buses, metros, or trams can become a breeding ground for bacteria in a snap. They can do nothing for crowds. But as for infected surfaces, this SMB from Caluire-er-Cuire in Rhône has the solution.
The French company has come up with fabric likely to destroy 99.99% of microbes and bacteria, including Covid-19. SMB Trajet-Aunde has already been able to set their fabric on special seats in buses in the Paris area and on Lyon metro line C and even in Sydney subway.
Interviewed by Le Figaro, the company explains they have “designed this fabric five years ago. First we only wanted a self-cleaning product”. This technology works with a mineral in liquid form that soaks a special velvet. When exposed to natural or artificial UV, this element activates and creates an oxidation phenomenon killing organic molecules in only a minute. “We have conducted in-house tests and saw it also works to kill 99.99% of viruses, microbes, and bacteria. Result has been confirmed by an independent laboratory”.
This process also enables to destroy most viruses in the air surrounding the treated fabric. “The surface covered in the fabric kills particulates sticking to it”, the SMB assures.
According to recent studies, “the risk of spread from inanimate surfaces is very low, and only in cases someone infected coughs or sneezes on the surface and that someone else touches the surface shortly after (one to two hours after)” microbiology lecturer Emanuel Goldman explains Le Figaro. Yet, this innovative fabric could be set on most of public transit network, in order to reassure commuters and encourage then to come back.
“To do so, it is necessary to reassure them and it can only be made with long-term solutions” Île-de-France Mobilités says. The company has then decided to equip seven buses travelling across the Mantes area in the summer 2020 as a test. More than its antibacterial benefits, the fabric must show its hydrophobic ability, as well as resistance to cuts to resist to daily and more or less respectful uses.
Île-de-France Mobilités is to share the results of the test in May 2021. In the second quarter, other experiments will be carried out with fabrics sold by Austrian (Kneitz) and Swiss (Lantal) companies.