For medical devices such as catheters, syringes, vials, test tubes and injector pens, many manufacturers are turning to plastics that are formulated to resist harsh chemical and environmental conditions. Growing in popularity are thermoplastic materials, including nylon and nylon derivatives like polyether block amides (PEBAs), as well as cyclic olefin polymers (COP) and copolymers (COC). These materials soften and become pliable on exposure to heat, hardening when cooled to room temperature. They are valued in medical device manufacturing for their strength, their superior mechanical and dynamic properties, and their ability to withstand sterilization and chemicals. They can often replace glass.
Nylons are semicrystalline polyamide materials that are very tough, offering good thermal, chemical and pressure resistance. These materials deliver the flexibility, tensile strength and compression resistance needed to meet the requirements of devices used for fluid management, surgical procedures and diagnostics. Each type of nylon provides individualized performance characteristics. For example, as the nylon’s associated number increases, specific gravity, melting point and moisture content decrease (nylon 12 has a lower specific gravity than nylon 6).