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
As the 3D printing and overall additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, standards and guidelines from standards bodies and government organizations are increasing. Multiple players with multiple needs are also driving the role of 3DP and AM as enabling technologies for distributed manufacturing.
A growing though not-so-obvious role for 3D printing, 4D printing, and overall additive manufacturing is their use in fabricating new materials and enabling new or improved manufacturing and assembly processes. Individual engineers, OEMs, university labs, and others are reinventing the technology to suit their own needs.
For vehicles to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, three things must happen: customers must look beyond the data sheet and engage materials supplier earlier, and new integrated multi-materials are needed to make step-change improvements.
3D printing, 4D printing, and various types of additive manufacturing (AM) will get even bigger in 2015. We're not talking about consumer use, which gets most of the attention, but processes and technologies that will affect how design engineers design products and how manufacturing engineers make them. For now, the biggest industries are still aerospace and medical, while automotive and architecture continue to grow.
More and more -- that's what we'll see from plastics and composites in 2015, more types of plastics and more ways they can be used. Two of the fastest-growing uses will be automotive parts, plus medical implants and devices. New types of plastics will include biodegradable materials, plastics that can be easily recycled, and some that do both.
Design News Webinar Series
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
11/19/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
2/25/2015 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.
Jan 26 - 30, IPv6 for Micros – Hands-On
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.
Last Archived Class
Sponsored by Stratasys
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