To work effectively as a biocide, copper and silver must be introduced into the water in very small particles, known as ions.
The amount of metal is an important consideration… too big a particle size, or not a high enough concentration of copper and silver will result in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the microorganisms in the water. Conversely, it is equally important not to put too much copper and silver into the water, as it is essential that the treated water conforms to the requirements for potable drinking water.
With its advanced ability to proportionally dose and self-compensate for electrode wear and environmental factors, Bion Systems AccuionTM technology has been specifically designed to meet these challenges.
How does Copper Silver Ionisation work?
All microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and algae have an exterior envelope called the cell wall or cell membrane. Put simply, the cell membrane is essential to the integrity and function of a microorganism and has an electrical charge on it. In the case of Legionella and many other pathogens, this electrical charge is negative (-).
The electrical charge on a particle will repel the same charge and attract the opposite charge, just like poles of a magnet. The ionisation process adds copper and silver ions to the water which are positively charged. The ions are naturally attracted to the negatively charged cell membrane.
When the ions make contact with the cell membrane they electrically bond to the membrane. The ions then permeate it and begin to disrupt the cell’s essential functions.
Copper is known to be very effective against certain microorganisms such as algae, however some bacteria and viruses can resist the attack and continue their life cycle. This is why silver is also added to the water during ionisation. In the case of many bacteria, including Legionella, the copper and silver ions have a synergistic effect to disrupt the cells’ membrane and metabolism to the point where the cell dies.
Once the microorganism dies it looses negative charge. This releases the copper and silver ions and allows them to continue to move randomly through the water. As they are still attracted to negatively charged microorganisms, they will continue their work safely and effectively as a biocide.