A polymeric composition having antimicrobial properties and a process for rendering the surface of a substrate antimicrobial are disclosed. The polymeric composition comprises a crosslinked chemical combination of (i) a polymer having amino group-containing side chains along a backbone forming the polymer, (ii) an antimicrobial agent selected from metals, metal alloys, metal salts, metal complexes and mixtures thereof, and (iii) a crosslinking agent containing functional groups capable of reacting with the amino groups. In one example embodiment, the polymer is a polyamide formed from a maleic anhydride or maleic acid ester monomer and alkylamines thereby producing a polyamide having amino substituted alkyl chains on one side of the polyamide backbone; the crosslinking agent is a phosphine having the general formula (A).sub.3 P wherein A is hydroxyalkyl; and the metallic antimicrobial agent is selected from chelated silver ions, silver metal, chelated copper ions, copper metal, chelated zinc ions, zinc metal and mixtures thereof.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with Government support under NREL Subcontract NO. XXE-9-29058-01, Prime Contract No, DE-AC36-98G010337 awarded by the Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.