HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Engineering Materials

Slideshow: Plastics Are Fighting Disease

NO RATINGS
1 saves
View Comments: Oldest First|Newest First|Threaded View
Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Worthwhile plastics
Elizabeth M   3/7/2013 7:54:11 AM
NO RATINGS
Thanks for this, Ann, it's nice to see plastic being used for some worthy products. Infections in hospitals are a real problem. It's not an exaggeration to say people are sometimes more sick when they leave than when they go in. I in fact just heard of a friend's father who passed away from an infection he picked up in a hospital after he had a successful operation. So it's no joke. I hope these products help prevent such things from occurring in the future.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Worthwhile plastics
Charles Murray   3/7/2013 5:30:40 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree, Liz. We don't normally think of plastic as a means for fighting disease, but they do in fact play a role in the medical systems that help us recuperate. The MD&M Show is always a great place to see materials, and this is an impressive compilation of this year's best.   

3drob
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Worthwhile plastics
3drob   3/8/2013 9:36:19 AM
NO RATINGS
After a trip to the Emergency room, my whole family picked up the Rotovirus (a lot of people were there with the bug at the time), so this rings personal for me.  We were careful (bordering paranoid) not to touch things, which leads me to think it's more the staff than the objects.  As I sat there looking around, I couldn't help but think that so much more could be done to make the areas less prone to disease transmission (from the beds, chairs, curtains, tables, etc.)  Making things easy to wipe down, easy to remove and sterilize, hard to capture/hold fluids seems the obvious first steps.

I like that they are developing plastics capable of surviving sterilization (presumably including autoclaving), but it worries me when they start embedding anything anti-microbial.  Hospitals are becoming the engineering / breeding grounds of super bugs, and it's the over use of antimicrobial materials that is the root cause.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Worthwhile plastics
Ann R. Thryft   3/8/2013 12:43:21 PM
NO RATINGS
Rob, the rise of super-bugs is due in part to over-prescription of antibiotics for people and the less widely known use of antibiotics in animals raised for food, as well as poor control of disease in hospital environments. Antimicrobial materials can at least not give organisms a place to grow and spread if present, and harm sick people in hospitals even further, but they're not the cause of the bugs or their spread in the first place.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Worthwhile plastics
Elizabeth M   3/11/2013 9:39:14 AM
NO RATINGS
Really scary to hear about this personal story about catching something from the hospital. In addition to plastics, 3drob, hospitals are trying out other new techniques to try to keep things clean. At Johns Hopkins there is a robot that is spraying disinfectant into the air to try to prevent people from catching these hospital superbugs: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/renesas-electronics-unveils-low-power-microcontroller-family-with-up-to-1mb-of-on-chip-flash-2013-03-06

So you're right, there is more they can do to keep things clean so people don't fall ill from the place that is supposed to make them better.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Worthwhile plastics
Ann R. Thryft   3/13/2013 5:26:04 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree--I've heard too many stories like this one. I'm not exactly a fan of hospitals anyway but I now avoid them like, uh, the plague.

Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Improved Plastics
Greg M. Jung   3/24/2013 12:06:37 PM
NO RATINGS
A big challenge in medical product design is to identify and specify plastics that survive the harsh chemicals used when wiping down surfaces for sterilization.  I'm glad to see plastic suppliers continue to address this issue and develop plastics that are more resistant to chemicals and bacterial growth.

Jack Rupert, PE
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Worthwhile plastics
Jack Rupert, PE   3/25/2013 3:26:25 PM
NO RATINGS
I'm thinking that what 3drob noted about things not being all that easy to wipe down is due to the increased desire for more pleasing surroundings.  As they give the hospitals a more "homey" feel, they also by necessity make it harder to maintain.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Improved Plastics
Ann R. Thryft   3/26/2013 1:54:41 PM
NO RATINGS
Greg, I agree, and that's why I was pleasantly surprised to find how many medical-grade plastics manufacturers are addressing the sterilization issue, including materials that can withstand multiple types of sterilization chemicals and processes.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Worthwhile plastics
Ann R. Thryft   3/26/2013 2:26:11 PM
NO RATINGS
Jack, that's a really good point: the homier environments are made less sterile, both in truth and in feeling, by using softer materials, which are harder to clean.

Partner Zone
More Blogs from Engineering Materials
Instead of sifting through huge amounts of technical data looking for answers to assembly problems, engineers can now benefit from 3M's new initiative -- 3M Assembly Solutions. The company has organized its wealth of adhesive and tape solutions into six typical application areas, making it easier to find the best products to solve their real-world assembly and bonding problems.
Many of the materials in this slideshow are resins or elastomers, plus reinforced materials, styrenics, and PLA masterbatches. Applications range from automotive and aerospace to industrial, consumer electronics and wearables, consumer goods, medical and healthcare, as well as sporting goods, and materials for protecting food and beverages.
Engineers trying to keep track of the ever-ballooning number of materials and machines for additive manufacturing and 3D printing now have some relief: a free searchable database with more than 350 machines and 450 different materials.
At JEC Europe Dow Automotive introduced a new ultra-fast, under-60-second molding cycle time for its commercial-grade VORAFORCE 5300 epoxy resin matrix for carbon composites. It's aimed at high-volume automotive manufacturing.
A new online manual that describes in detail the range of commercial technologies for joining automotive aluminum components is available free from the Aluminum Association.
Design News Webinar Series
2/25/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
12/11/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
12/10/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
3/31/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Mar 30 - Apr3, Getting Hands-On with Cypress’ PSoC
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  67


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2015 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service