New Elastomers Target PVC in Medical Applications

DN Staff

February 20, 2010

3 Min Read
New Elastomers Target PVC in Medical Applications

Several new medical grades of plastics are directlytargeting flexible PVC, which has been criticizedfor potential health risks.

Companies introducing new thermoplastic elastomers aimed atmedical vinyl applications, such as IV bags, include DuPont, PolyOne and TeknorApex. The new materials were introduced at Medical Design & ManufacturingWest, Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA.

"DuPont(TM) Hytrel(R)thermoplastic polyester elastomer is a versatile engineering material withpotentially significant advantages in performance and part costs overalternative flexible materials, including plasticized PVC, conventional rubbersand several other TPEs (thermoplastic elastomers)," said John Gavenonis, globalhealth care manager - DuPont Performance Polymers. Potential uses for theDuPont material include soft-touch/grip surfaces, valves, seals, springs, shockabsorbers, tubing and noise management parts for medical products andpharmaceutical equipment.

PolyOne's NEU SpecialtyEngineered Materials LLC subsidiary is offering GLS Versaflex(TM) grades that aresaid to feature excellent clarity, flexibility and non-plasticized formulationswith exceptionally low leachables and extractables for enhanced patient safety.PolyOne is also offering non-phthalate flexible Geon(TM) HC vinyl compounds.

"We use a collaborative approachto help customers reduce the risk inherent in product design, material selectionand manufacturing start-up, which in turn speeds time to market and ultimately,drives marketplace success," said Larry Johnson, global healthcare marketingdirector forPolyOne.

Teknor Apex said its new Medalist(R) MD-500 Series compoundsexhibit crystal clarity and mechanical properties comparable to those of PVC;provide similar clamp resilience and resistance to kinking and necking; have aPVC-like "feel"; and are substantially more flexible and significantly lessdense. A typical compound in the series, Medalist MD-575, exhibits 70 percentless heat-aged color shift than a gamma-stabilized PVC compound of comparablehardness.

"Medalist MD-500 Series products outperform traditionalPVC-alternative technologies by mirroring many of the performance and handlingcharacteristics of flexible PVC tubing compounds, while providing distinctadvantages in some key capabilities," said new business development specialistElliott Pritikin.

Medalist MD-500 Series elastomers have been tested forcompliance with ISO 10993-5 cytotoxicity standards and are free ofanimal-derived materials, phthalates, latex, silicones and additives notdirectly required for medical applications. Standard formulations include fivegrades, with Shore A hardness (15 sec.) ranging from 53 to 86.

Some suppliers consider the composition of their new elastomersto be proprietary, and describe them as using a "broad range of chemistries."

The European Union's Scientific Committee on Emerging andNewly Identified Health issued a report in 2008 stating that some medicalprocedures may create significant exposure to DEHP-type plasticizer used in PVCcompounds to make them more flexible.

Other new materials introduced at the MD&M West include:

  • New anti-static compoundsfor inhalation devices from SABIC Innovative Plastics. The new transparentmaterials are said to provide permanent anti-static properties, eliminating theneed for secondary operations.

  • A newly developed curable coating that NuSil says decreases the coefficient offriction of the underlying silicone surface by a minimum of 50 percent whencompared to a non-coated silicone surface. Silicone elastomers inherently havea high degree of surface tack and a tendency for blocking (sticking tothemselves by virtue of chemical affinity), which may cause problems inapplications where they come in contact with each other or other surfaces.

  • Teknor Apex also introduced a new gamma-stablerigid PVC injection molding compound that provides the clarity and toughnessrequired for tubing connectors, luer locks, valves, drip chambers, instrumenthandles and similar medical components.

New Elastomers Target PVC in Medical Applications

New Elastomers Target PVC in Medical Applications_A

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