Many delivery devices used inside hospitals and lab testing facilities are commonly made out of silicone. Tubing used in drug delivery, such as peristaltic pumps, and surgical procedures is formed of silicone. Face masks used in sleep apnea and other breathing applications are molded from silicone as well. Low reactivity and low immune response makes silicones good candidates for handling critical medical and pharmaceutical applications.
Keypad covers used in medical diagnostic machines are made out of silicone and often coated with parylene coatings. Another growing use of silicone is the encapsulation of electronics used in certain medical devices. This provides advantages as the electronics are insulated and the heat that is created can be dissipated through the layer of silicone and made waterproof.
Silicone provides medical device companies with many options for development of new products. The opportunities to use silicone in new medical devices are endless. As time progresses, silicone will continue to be implemented by more organizations due to its biocompatibility, bio-inertness, and excellent physical properties. (See Figure 4)
As medical silicone materials continue to evolve and have their characteristics enhanced by suppliers, medical device companies will continue to increase their adoption of these materials. Medical devices will continue to shrink in size, become more complex and more intricate in the 21st century. Silicone will provide medical device designers and engineers with a proven and flexible material to assist in the creation of their new products. Medical grades of silicone will become even more valuable to the medical device field with each passing year, as additives and other enhancements are introduced to fulfill further product demands.
This article was written by Ryan M. Taylor, Business Development Specialist, Albright Technologies, Inc., Leominster, MA. For more information, Click Here . BIOMEDevice, Booth 700; MD&M East, Booth 2223