Specialty Polymers for Medical Equipment

The battle against healthcare-related infections (HAI) has given rise to more aggressive disinfection protocols that expose medical equipment to more frequent use of stronger chemicals. Many plastic housings and components are failing under these conditions, which exceed the limitations they were designed to withstand. 

At Solvay, we believe innovation is the key to solving issues that face the healthcare industry. This is why our advanced polymer solutions are designed to tolerate stronger disinfectants while offering high heat resistance, toughness and design freedom. Medical equipment housings and components  made with these our polymers last longer and can reduce costs associated with downtime and repairs. 

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Advanced Polymer Solutions with Solvay

Our commitment to achieving better healthcare outcomes through superior material performance  is matched only by our dedication to top-notch chemistry. Our industry-leading selection of polymers for medical equipment delivers solutions for:

  • Compatibility with Disinfectants: Our chemical-resistant polymers retain mechanical properties and surface aesthetics after repeated exposure to strong chemicals.
  • Strength and Stiffness: Replacing metal components with strong, lightweight plastics is made possible through correct material selection and proper design.
  • Impact Strength: Handheld medical equipment is often dropped during normal use, making impact strength an important requirement.
  • Aesthetics: Product aesthetics are essential in the healthcare industry. Our polymers provide excellent appearance and a smooth surface finish that are maintained over time. Transparent and opaque grades exhibit excellent colorability. 
  • Heat Resistance: Heat generated by sophisticated electronics requires higher performing polymers for long-lasting performance.  
  • Flame Resistance: Many of our resins are inherently flame retardant while others can be formulated to achieve a UL94 V0 rating.

 

Solvay Specialty Polymers for Medical Equipment

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Compatibility with Hospital Disinfectants

Resistance to cleaning agents and disinfectants is an important consideration when selecting materials for healthcare applications. Chemical compatibility varies considerably among plastics and is largely dependent on molecular structure as well as the type and concentration of the reagent, temperature, exposure time, and stress on fabricated part.

Stress can be caused by an external load applied during use or by a residual internal stress in the molded part due to processing. Residual stress can be minimized by adjusting processing conditions. It’s important to be familiar with a material’s performance under unstressed and stressed conditions as some reagents having no effect on unstressed plastic can cause cracking when stressed.

The table below gives a general indication of how our specialty polymers stand up to commonly used hospital disinfectants. Because performance and design criteria are application specific, manufacturers should check performance under conditions that best simulate the intended use of the fabricated part. 

Retention of Tensile and Impact Properties

Stress Crack Resistance, 7-day Exposure Under Strain at 23°C

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