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Engineering Materials
Disease-Fighting Materials Spotlighted at MD&M West
2/20/2014

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	The successful placing of catheter-based medical devices such as angioplasty, stent placements, and thrombectomy need variable stiffness combined with as much flexibility as possible. Those are two opposing needs, but Solvay has achieved this with its Radel polyphenylsulfone (PPSU). The material is being used by RiverTech Medical in one layer of that company's precision micro-tubing with variable flexibility for catheter-based medical devices. This microtubing, shown here, offers two to three different stiffnesses and flexibilities in a single component, Maria Gallahue-Worl, global business manager for healthcare in Solvay's specialty polymers division, told Design News. 

	RiverTech Medical made the micro-tubing with multiple layers of different polymers, plus a layer of woven wire material for reinforcing tubing walls. Radel PPSU provides strength and stiffness as the top layer, which is 0.002 inch (0.00508 cm) thick. The polymer's strength and melt processability are comparable to those of competitive materials like polyimide, and it can endure more than 1,000 cycles of steam sterilization without a significant loss of properties. (Source: Solvay)

The successful placing of catheter-based medical devices such as angioplasty, stent placements, and thrombectomy need variable stiffness combined with as much flexibility as possible. Those are two opposing needs, but Solvay has achieved this with its Radel polyphenylsulfone (PPSU). The material is being used by RiverTech Medical in one layer of that company's precision micro-tubing with variable flexibility for catheter-based medical devices. This microtubing, shown here, offers two to three different stiffnesses and flexibilities in a single component, Maria Gallahue-Worl, global business manager for healthcare in Solvay's specialty polymers division, told Design News.

RiverTech Medical made the micro-tubing with multiple layers of different polymers, plus a layer of woven wire material for reinforcing tubing walls. Radel PPSU provides strength and stiffness as the top layer, which is 0.002 inch (0.00508 cm) thick. The polymer's strength and melt processability are comparable to those of competitive materials like polyimide, and it can endure more than 1,000 cycles of steam sterilization without a significant loss of properties.

(Source: Solvay)

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Elizabeth M
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Re: Re : Disease-Fighting Materials Spotlighted at MD&M West
Elizabeth M   2/27/2014 5:51:03 AM
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Yes, i agree, the information out there does sort of frighten one at the thought of entering hospitals, AnandY. I am curious--do you work in the medical field? It seems like you speak from experience.

AnandY
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Re : Disease-Fighting Materials Spotlighted at MD&M West
AnandY   2/27/2014 2:24:23 AM
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@ Elizabeth M, it has been a serious cause of concern now for quite some time. We always listen to talks about people, other than patients, catching infections of various kinds in the hospital environment which makes it more and more scary to work in the hospitals or attend the patients there. It is good to see that we are heading toward better solutions.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Materials doing a lot more this year
Ann R. Thryft   2/26/2014 1:48:14 PM
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Liz, that's really interesting about the home-birth "movement". It sounds like a second wave after the first one in the late 60s and 70s. I think it may be part of a larger avoid-hospitals trend, but I wonder if there are any other factors involved. In the first wave, it also had to do with a search for more natural and traditional methods, and for better mental/psychological health of mom and baby.



Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Re : Disease-Fighting Materials Spotlighted at MD&M West
Ann R. Thryft   2/25/2014 12:22:07 PM
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AnandY, I completely agree with you. last year the materials being touted by many of these same manufacturers could withstand one of those sterilization processes. Now it's all three, or even more in some cases. All I can say to that is "Wow!"

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Materials doing a lot more this year
Ann R. Thryft   2/25/2014 12:21:24 PM
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Thanks, Nadine. It is heartening to see how quickly the big plastics manufacturers can and do respond to market needs that benefit the ultimate end-consumers of their products, especially in medical materials.



Elizabeth M
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Re: Materials doing a lot more this year
Elizabeth M   2/25/2014 5:06:06 AM
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Yes, I am with you, Ann. I don't even like to visit people in the hospital. It seems like there is a big backlash happening globally against hospitals and traditional medical care in general, or maybe it's just because I live in kind of a progressive- and alternative-minded case. For example, I know a lot of pregnant women at the moment and many of them are opting for home-birth situations because they, like you, want to avoid hospitals like the plague. They fell that there is more room for something unfortunate to happen in a hospital rather than out. Giving birth is of course a different scenario than needing to go to the hospital for a serious problem/illness, but still, there is something to be said for managing some medical situations outside of a hospital these days.

NadineJ
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Re: Materials doing a lot more this year
NadineJ   2/24/2014 5:23:33 PM
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I agree.  There are so many people in the world who will benefit greatly from these developments.  Great post.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Anti-microbial properties of their own?
Ann R. Thryft   2/24/2014 10:58:39 AM
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TJ, many plastics are inherently anti-microbial. Others can be made so by their manufacturers. Most, if not all, of these are one way or the other. That's a different set of characteristics from those needed to withstand various sterilization environments. Whether any of these are inherently anti-microbial or made so by design might be answered in the material's data sheet, or by the manufacturer.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Materials doing a lot more this year
Ann R. Thryft   2/24/2014 10:57:12 AM
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Liz, I haven't been overnight in a hospital in years, but it was before the recent scary statistics. Now I also avoid them like, um, the plague.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Materials doing a lot more this year
Ann R. Thryft   2/24/2014 10:56:44 AM
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far911, that's very interesting and thanks for sharing that info. Do you remember which of these materials was being used in the pacemaker?

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