The use of polyurethane materials in the construction of medical devices is growing. Characteristics of polyurethane that make it ideal for use in medical devices include:
- Availability of a wide range of durometers
- High tensile strength, abrasion resistance and toughness
- Good biocompatibility
- Customizable chemistry for different applications
- Plasticizer-free formulations
- Resistance to degradation
Slight differences in polyurethane chemistry lead to distinct properties in the final product and these chemistry variations have led to multiple thermoplastic polyurethane families. This 8-minute video from Parker’s Engineered Polymer Systems Division helps medical device manufacturers select the optimal polyurethane for their device.
Beginning with the key components in polyurethane synthesis, Parker explains how these polymers are made and how the different chemistries affect their final outcome. The video steps through the “pre-polymerization method”, explaining how the hard segment, soft segment, and chain extender connect to form polymer chains. The different components contribute to the materials’ high strength properties (the hard segment) and to pliability/flexibility (the soft segment) without the use of plasticizers.
Polyurethanes used in medical devices have evolved over the years, leading to materials better suited for the environments within the human body. Because medical devices are exposed to a variety of chemical attacks, care must be taken when selecting the right material for a device. Typical medical applications include:
- Vascular access devices
- Cardiovascular treatment devices
- Disposable surgical supplies
- Tracheotomy devices
- Urological devices
- Dialysis devices
- Feeding tubes
This video below explains the different polyurethane families’ strengths and vulnerabilities, including hydrolysis, oxidation, and environmental stress cracking. Click here to download the white paper associated with this video.
Additional articles you may be interested in: