New Solvay study affirms compatibility of medical-grade polymers with Sterrad sterilisation

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Solvay Specialty Polymers has conducted an extensive study that supports the growing use of its high-performance medical-grade polymers in hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilisation. For designers and medical OEMs, the study provides the most up-to-date information on the compatibility of Solvay’s healthcare materials to hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilisation.

The findings reveal that Solvay’s Radelpolyphenylsulfone (PPSU), Udel polysulfone (PSU), AvaSpire polyaryletherketone (PAEK), and KetaSpire polyetheretherketone (PEEK) retain excellent mechanical performance and stable appearance properties after 200 cycles of the Sterrad 100NX standard cycle. “The study confirms that our medical-grade polymers have strong compatibility with hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilisation,” said Jim Hicks, technical marketing engineer for Solvay Specialty Polymers. “This further attests to Solvay’s broad high-performance material portfolio which meets the sterilisation needs of the medical industry.”

Historically, the standard sterilisation method for reusable devices has been steam autoclave, according to Hicks. However, the growing use of electronics and endoscopes, which are not compatible with the high-temperature environment of the steam autoclave, has increased the need for low-temperature sterilisation techniques such as hydrogen peroxide gas plasma. As a result, Solvay saw the need to evaluate its medical-grade materials to build support data and confirm the capability and performance of its materials for the medical industry.

The recent testing examines the materials at higher cycles and under more aggressive conditions as compared to previous evaluations, according to Hicks. Solvay’s medical-grade polymers are also compatible with other typical sterilisation techniques including ethylene oxide (EtO), gamma radiation, and steam autoclave.

Solvay’s medical-grade plastics lineup provides design engineers with the ability to create new products that offer metal-like performance in a lighter weight design, with the ease and flexibility of plastics manufacturing for applications such as instrumentation, reusable and single-use devices, medical equipment, and sterilisation cases and trays.

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