Silicones balance healthcare needs of patients

March 18, 2011

Tailor-made solutions
Bluestar Silicones has launched a customised approach to the manufacture of antimicrobial silicone products that offers OEMs and processors tailored material solutions to meet specific healthcare application needs. Unlike competitive offerings that are “one size fits all,” Bluestar says it is able to fine-tune its products and deliver materials that precisely fit the application without sacrificing performance.

Medical device makers are seeking new material solutions to inhibit bacterial growth and combat the
increase in cases of hospital-borne infections. During a two-year R&D project, Bluestar says it examined a wide range of antimicrobial additives, both organic and inorganic, and assessed their impact on silicone materials. This it says enabled it to provide the tailor-made antimicrobial products.
The company says it is not limited to one type of material and has a broad material “tool box”.

Coupled with this and customers’ requirements, it can anticipate in advance and develop a customised formulation. The company said that by closely matching the antimicrobial additive with the silicone, core properties can be maintained while antimicrobial protection is added.

Bluestar offers a range of material solutions based on its Silbione line of LSRs, heat-cured rubbers (HCR) and reactive thermoplastic vulcanisates (RTVs). These are targeted at applications like needle-less valves, IV construction and catheters, as well as consumer applications.

The US$700 million global company, which was set up in 2007 after China National Bluestar Corporation
(now China National Bluestar Group) acquired Rhodia Silicones, is also expanding its footprint in the US. To be commissioned in 2013, the 19.4-acre site will provide significant room for the company’s expansion, to support its global five-year strategic plan to grow in the existing speciality markets and enter new silicone markets.

UV-activated silicone adhesive raises the bar
Last year at the K2010 exhibition in Germany, Wacker Silicones launched several UV-activated silicone rubbers. One of them, Silpuran 2149 UV, is a pourable, two-component, addition-curing silicone adhesive that can be used for wound dressings.

The adhesive contains a UV-sensitive curing agent that upon irradiation with UV light converts the agent into its active form, whereupon the cross linking reaction starts. In contrast to conventional addition-curing silicones, which utilise heat-activated catalysts, the new silicone adhesive cures at room temperature and on its own after the curing mechanism has been triggered with UV light. The curing time can be individually set via the UV radiation dose and the process temperature.

Processors benefit from the new technology in a number of ways, says the company. As the cross linking reaction only starts when the uncross linked material is irradiated with UV light, Silpuran 2149 has a large processing window despite its high reactivity. At the same time, processors can cure their products faster and shorten their process times. Since the silicone does not have to be oven cured, even thermally sensitive substrates can be coated with the new adhesive coating. Considerable energy cost savings can also be made. The adhesive is ideally suited for the manufacture of wound dressings as it forms a thin layer between the multi-layer composite and the skin and helps to create
a moist environment that is beneficial for the wound.

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