Materials technology is advancing rapidly for demanding medical plastics applications, such as catheters.
At MD&M East today in Philadelphia, specialty compounder Foster Corp. (Putnam, CT), unveiled ProPell thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and polyether block amide (PEBA) compounds for improved manufacturing and handling of medical catheters. Foster said that the new compounds dramatically reduce tackiness and friction in soft, flexible polymers while maintaining other physical properties of the unmodified polymers.
Soft grades of TPU and PEBA polymers, with hardness properties ranging from 80 Shore A to 35 Shore D, are commonly used in medical catheters that require flexibility to navigate vascular pathways without causing trauma. Yet, the inherent high friction and tackiness of these polymers cause handling problems during catheter tube extrusion and packaging since the parts stick to each other. Catheters made from these materials can also be difficult for physicians to push through vascular pathways.