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Nano-Reinforced Nylon Alloys Said to Increase Strength of Structural Medical Components
PUTNAM, Conn.–Foster Corporation has introduced new compounds for medical device components that require high strength, yet cannot use metals or traditional reinforced plastics. The Nanomed MAX® compounds, based on an alloy of meta-xylene diamine polyamide (MX nylon), are United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Class VI tested and suitable for reusable instruments or components that must withstand gamma, e-beam, and ethylene oxide sterilization, the company said in a press release.
Minimally invasive procedures are increasingly used throughout the healthcare industry. New procedures require instruments, fixtures, and components that do not interfere with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized axial tomography (CAT), fluoroscopy, and x-ray imaging. Metals are not suitable, and plastics often require reinforcing additives, such as glass fiber, to provide sufficient strength for structural components. However, these traditional additives are too large for molding or extruding intricate device components with thin wall sections, and unreinforced, high-strength plastic options, such as polyetheretherketone (PEEK), are often cost prohibitive.
Nanomed MAX compounds incorporate nanoclay particles into a high strength nylon alloy. The platelet-shaped particles, less than a nanometer thick and up to 1000 times greater in surface diameter, provide reinforcement at the molecular level, enhancing strength and rigidity of the polymer without hindering flow into thin sections, the company says. Nanomed MAX compounds include less than 10 percent by weight nanoparticles, resulting in 15 percent more tensile strength than unmodified PEEK, for approximately half the price, according to Foster.
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