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In my conversations with materials suppliers and plastics processors catering to the medical device market, robust chemical resistance has become a key talking point. To prevent the spread of hospital-acquired infections, medical establishments are using harsher chemicals to disinfect devices and increasing the frequency of wipe downs. This can cause cracking and catastrophic breaks, especially with molded-in plastic parts. RTP Co. (Winona, MN) has been working on a solution for around four years, and it's now ready to bring it to market.

Norbert Sparrow

July 2, 2015

2 Min Read
RTP develops plastic that won't crack under harsh chemical pressure


RTP tested popular disinfectants used in hospitals
on several polymers. Its RTP 2000 alloy was the
only one to pass the test with all of the cleaners.

The RTP 2000 HC series thermoplastic compounds maintain strength, functionality and integrity, even when repeatedly exposed to harsh disinfectants, says the company. The proprietary alloy is suited for molding an array of hospital equipment and plastic housings that require frequent disinfection, such as mobile ultrasound and x-ray machines, enteral feeding devices, drug infusion pumps and blood filtration equipment.

RTP engineers tested numerous polymers for damage resistance to several popular chemical classes of hospital cleaners and disinfectants, reports the company. Molded compounds were subjected to stressors in order to replicate field failures and relative resistance. RTP devised a test that mimics the stresses and chemical exposure that the material might undergo with repeated cleaning, explains Marie Thibault in MD+DI, a sister publication of PlasticsToday. "Tensile bars of different materials, including RTP 2000, were strained (bent) to 1.0%, then a gauze patch in the center of each bar was soaked with different types of chemical every 24 hours. In between applications, the bar was allowed to dry out and oxidize. This test was triplicated and conducted for 96 hours," writes Thibault.

According to data provided to MD+DI by RTP, the industry standard PC/ABS material failed tensile strength and elongation tests for all but two of the 11 common cleaners used. RTP 2000, meanwhile, passed the test with all 11 cleaners. The company's Global Healthcare Manager Josh Blackmore "won't reveal what makes the new alloy so special, but admits that unique additives were used to help improve the material's properties," adds Thibault.

RTP 2000 HC is now available globally in flame retardant or non-flame retardant versions, and the compounds are colorable. The material is also available in sheet format in thicknesses ranging from 0.02 to 0.25 in. through Engineered Sheet Products (ESP), a division of RTP.

OEMs and injection molding companies that create parts, housings and equipment for medical facilities can use the RTP 2000 HC series thermoplastic compounds as a direct replacement for other amorphous resins such as PC/ABS and PC/PBT, according to RTP.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.


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