This electrical charge makes ions highly reactive since they are in an unstable state and they will react with the first ion of opposite charge they encounter, in an attempt to return to a neutral uncharged state.
Ions of silver and copper are positively charged, having lost an electron and will therefore react with atoms or molecules, which carry a negative charge.
The outer membrane of most bacteria is negatively charged and ions of silver and copper are therefore preferentially attracted to bacteria, where they react and cause cell death.
Silver-Copper ionisation works when a low voltage DC current is passed between a pair of electrodes each composed of an alloy of copper and silver.
This flow of current causes some of the outermost atoms of the positively charged anode to lose electrons, thus forming positive ions, which are then attracted to the negatively charge cathode.
However, since the electrodes are placed in a stream of running water, some of these ions are carried away by the flow and released into the bulk of the water.
Both copper and silver are active against a wide range of bacteria, fungi, algae and viruses, including the pathogenic organisms found as pollutants of surface water systems.
The positively charged ions form electrostatic bonds with negatively charged sites on the organisms” cell walls, creating stresses, which lead to, increased cell wall permeability. This result in entry of the ions into the cells, where they interfere with enzymes responsible for cellular respiration and bind at specific sites to DNA, thereby killing the cells.
In the presence of 0.4 ppm chlorine, copper and silver ions have been shown to effect a 3.7 log reduction of Legionella pneumophila in 90 seconds in laboratory trials.
In large complex systems with long standing biofilm contamination it may take up to six months for ionisation to remove all traces of biofilm, but once this has been achieved the system will remain free of contamination indefinitely.
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