Disrupting the Paint Industry with Valued Partners | Corning Guardiant Antimicrobial | Corning

Disrupting the Paint Industry with Valued Partners

As an innovation leader for more than 170 years, Corning continues to invent new ways to use glass and ceramic materials. One of the company’s latest innovations is Corning® Guardiant®, a copper-based antimicrobial that enables paints and other materials to have the germ-killing potency of metallic copper without being limited by metallic copper’s look and feel. Guardiant-enabled paints can continuously kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses for many years, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

So why is a glass company working on a product for paint?

So why is a glass company working on a product for paint?

So why is a glass company working on a product for paint? Well, interestingly, glass is the key ingredient that unlocks the antimicrobial power of copper. Corning scientists invented a glass composition that traps copper ions inside a glass matrix and keeps the most effective form of copper readily available for reducing harmful germs.  And while the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a broader awareness on the importance of germ contamination overall, this is an area that Corning has been working on for nearly a decade.

“In 2012, we started research and development efforts into the idea of self-sanitizing surfaces after the serious illness of one of our colleagues at Corning that was caused by a hospital-acquired infection,” said Joydeep Lahiri, Division Vice President and Director, Specialty Surfaces.  “When we began researching the issue on a broader scale, we learned that there was a need for self-sanitizing surfaces in markets such as healthcare.”

Eventually, Corning’s team of researchers had initial success with what became Guardiant antimicrobial particles, and started looking to prove its antimicrobial efficacy in commonly used products.

“We started using a copper-based glass ceramic because of its higher antimicrobial potency in real-world use conditions relative to silver,” Joydeep said. “And from a practical perspective, it was easy to go to the local hardware store to buy indoor latex paint, add Guardiant to it, and see whether it worked.  While the concept worked, we quickly realized we needed a partner in the paint industry to help us with the next development steps.”

Developing applications or use cases for a product like Guardiant can’t be solely developed in the laboratory. It’s crucial that the product is tested by knowledgeable industry partners to help ensure that it will meet all the expected requirements for an application.

One of the partners that Corning engaged to assist with the application testing was Passonno Paints based in Watervliet, NY. The family-based company has served the greater Albany, NY region for more than 90 years and was excited to engage with Corning on this product. 

“We were able to utilize our many decades of expertise in the paint industry to help Corning with the testing of Guardiant in paint formulations, and were honored that they asked us to help,” said Richard Cunningham, President, Passonno Paints.

And for Corning, working with an experienced paint company in the upstate NY region was the perfect partner to help navigate and understand a completely new industry.

“While Corning never shies away from an innovation challenge, we had a lot to learn about paint, and the Passonno team helped us with learning more about the technical aspects of paint and its manufacturing, and the ways to incorporate Guardiant into a paint formula,” Joydeep said.

A few months ago, one of Corning’s customers, PPG, announced the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) product registration of their PPG COPPER ARMOR™ paint, powered by Corning ® Guardiant ®. This innovative interior coating uses the Guardiant copper technology to continuously kill viruses and bacteria* on the painted surface within 2 hours of exposure for up to 5 years. The paint can be used in both commercial and residential spaces and is available for consumer purchase in over 40 states. This EPA registration is a requirement before the germ-killing paint can be made available for consumer purchase, and Passonno’s involvement with Guardiant continues as a PPG dealer offering  Copper Armor™. Currently, Copper Armor™ is the only paint that is permitted to make claims against the SARS-CoV-2 and is listed alongside copper alloys as the only two entrants in the U.S. EPA’s List N Appendix for products with residual antimicrobial effectiveness against virus.

Now, more than ever, consumers want products that offer multiple layers of protection from harmful germs that live on the surfaces they’re exposed too on a daily basis,” said Brian Osterried, product manager and technical lead for PPG Copper Armor™. “PPG’s Copper Armor™ is the first paint product to provide a safeguard against harmful microbes on walls, trims and doors. We’re excited that our partnership with Corning has made this product possible.”

“For Corning and PPG, it’s been a multi-year journey working to create the overall product category in partnership with the U.S. EPA -- so obtaining registration and product availability on store shelves have been huge milestones,” Joydeep said. “Given the uncertainty of the current global health issues, we’re glad that products with Guardiant can help deliver antimicrobial coating technology to the public for added peace of mind. We look forward to working with Passonno as a PPG dealer promoting Copper Armor™  powered by Corning ® Guardiant ®. Technology.” 

PPG COPPER ARMOR paint is now available for purchase at retailers across the U.S. Learn more about where you can find Copper Armor here.