Much like with aerospace applications, rubber components used in the medical field can make the difference between successful use and catastrophic failure. That’s why it’s important that rubber products used in the medical industry are reliable, which means demonstrating resilience to chemicals, sterilizers and pressure. Not to mention, they should demonstrate flexibility and strength, which is probably why silicone rubber is used so widely in the medical field. Silicone rubber also has low toxicity, good insulation properties, low chemical reactivity and excellent non-stick and non-adhesive properties.
Let’s take a look at how rubber is used in the medical industry and why there’s a need for reliable rubber products.
Rubber Seals & Fasteners in the Medical Field
Rubber seals and fasteners are used in the medical industry for things like catheters, pacemakers and drug delivery systems. These machines and mechanisms are vital in nature when it comes to saving human lives, which means they have to be built with care.
Think about the Viton silicone o-ring and how important it is in the medical industry. This medical-grade seal is used in respiratory equipment, drug delivery devices and other medical devices, including cylinders, valves, connectors, pumps and fluid transfers.
The Need for Reliable Rubber Products
Rubber products in the medical industry not only have to be reliable, but they should also be/have all of the following.
1. Resilience to Chemicals
Any material that’s going to be used in a medical device should be resistant to chemicals, meaning it should be able to withstand water and common chemicals, such as acids, ammonia, oxidizing chemicals and isopropyl alcohol, without wearing. Rubber silicone is one of those kinds of materials, which is likely why it’s used in a number of medical devices and mechanisms.
2. Resilience to Sterilizers
In the medical industry, doctors and nurses use sterile equipment to treat each patient. The ability to sterilize tools and equipment is important due to the sensitive nature of illness and injury. Being able to sterilize equipment and tools without worrying about compromising the overall quality of a product is essential in medicine, especially when it comes to the surgical field.
3. Resilience to Pressure
Products made for the medical field should also be resilient to pressure. That means they shouldn’t be easily breakable or bendable. For example, silicones used in prosthetics need to be sturdy enough to carry different weight loads, yet still be comfortable enough for proper use.
Silicone rubber can be molded into custom designs and shapes. Flexibility is important when it comes time to mold and shape a new product, such as infant care products and medical tubing. Just imagine all of the different medical devices that exist and how silicone rubber might have contributed to the making of each device.
The materials used to make medical products have to be strong enough to withstand extreme temperatures and hold up for long periods of time. That’s why silicone rubber is so vastly used in so many ways. It doesn’t easily wear and tear, which is why it’s great for use in tubes and cords that can be joined to make o-rings. Silicone rubber also has great resistance to UV radiation and x-rays.
Why Silicone Rubber Is a Top Choice
As you can see, rubber is used for a number of different products in the medical field. Without silicone rubber, many medical devices and mechanisms wouldn’t exist. It’s touted for its ability to withstand harsh chemicals, sustain extreme high and low temperatures and for its durability, flexibility and strength.