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New PC Co-Polymer Grades Withstand Harsh Chemicals in Medical Applications

Sabic will introduce the materials, which also offer thin-wall transparency, dimensional stability, and processability, at MD&M West.

February 2, 2023

3 Min Read
prototype medical device
Image courtesy of Sabic

Sabic will debut two new LNP CRX polycarbonate (PC) co-polymer resins at the co-located Plastec West and Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) West event in Anaheim, CA, on Feb. 7 to 9. Offering a combination of chemical and impact resistance, thin-wall transparency, dimensional stability, and processability, the new materials reportedly can overcome drawbacks of incumbent PC and co-polyester resins when exposed to disinfectants or aggressive chemicals in applications such as clear covers, screens, and display lenses.

The two grades are LNP ELCRES CRX1314TW co-polymer and its bio-based equivalent, LNP ELCRIN CRX1314BTW co-polymer, which offers up to a 42% reduction in the carbon footprint based on life cycle assessment (LCA). Both grades feature limited biocompatibility according to ISO 10993 and are covered under Sabic’s healthcare product policy that provides management of change processes.

The company first introduced the LNP ELCRES CRX co-polymer resins at MD&M West 2020. The continued market need for chemically resistant materials has driven the development of these innovative thin-wall transparent materials, said Sabic.

“The rigorous healthcare disinfection protocols established during the COVID pandemic are ongoing, and Sabic continues to innovate in the area of chemical resistance,” said Joshua Chiaw, Director, Business Management, LNP & NORYL, Specialties, Sabic. “Our specialties business is developing new solutions that not only help device manufacturers avoid degradation from aggressive disinfectants, but also address other requirements. Our newest materials extend the LNP CRX portfolio by combining signature chemical resistance with other desirable properties, including sustainability. These thin-wall, transparent copolymers, which complement our opaque LNP CRX grades, can help customers take a holistic approach when creating diagnostic devices and wearables that deliver longer service life, lower system costs, and reduce environmental impact.”

Like all LNP CRX materials, the new grades withstand exposure to harsh disinfecting chemicals, such as quaternary ammonium compounds, alcohols, and peroxides, which can lead to environmental stress cracking in medical device displays and covers. The materials offer transparency equivalent to that of PC resins at thin-wall geometries of 0.8 to 1.0 mm, and are translucent at higher thicknesses. They also deliver impact resistance across a wide temperature range (down to -40°C), dimensional stability, and good processability, said Sabic. Both grades meet the UL94 HB standard for horizontal burning.

The new materials contribute to sustainability goals by helping customers design and manufacture devices with an optimized service life. Improved chemical and impact resistance can help to reduce premature part damage and failures. Greater durability results in a more positive life cycle, as fewer devices need to be replaced and, consequently, fewer are sent to landfills, said Sabic.

Through expanded thin-wall design freedom, the LNP CRX co-polymers enable sustainability to be incorporated in devices up front. They can help designers reduce overall part dimensions, consolidate parts and materials, and enhance manufacturing efficiencies with thin-wall molding, which is becoming increasingly important in the design of smaller and lighter-weight applications such as portable and hand-held medical equipment.

To streamline the manufacturing process, LNP ELCRES CRX1314TW and LNP ELCRIN CRX1314BTW grades can offer several advantages, including laser welding capability. To meet the healthcare industry’s growing need for high-precision, vibration-free assembly technology, these new co-polymer resins provide near-infrared (IR) transmission optical properties that are required for laser welding. They enable leakproof, low-stress welds without the need for adhesives.

The new LNP CRX products can also help protect non-medical products from the effects of chemicals used in sunscreens, hand creams, and insect repellents, which can potentially degrade consumer electronics and industrial applications.

Nithin Raikar, Sabic’s Senior Business Manager for LNP Resins and Compounds, will discuss the new LNP CRX materials at Plastec West/ MD&M West. His presentation, “Thin-wall Transparent, Chemically Resistant LNP CRX Copolymer Resins: Addressing Medical Device Durability and Sustainability Trends,” will take place on Feb. 8 at 11:30 a.m. in the Design Alley Theater.

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