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Polymer Additives

Compounding for medical applications

SpecialChem / Jan 29, 2001

The use of plastics for medical applications is expected to top US$ 4 billion in the next two years - and that is just the American market. To give an approximate value for the world market, by all precedents the figure can be at least doubled and possibly trebled. Plastics are used for medical products and components of equipment, and for packaging of products and pharmaceuticals. John Murphy looks at the market and the role that plastics additives play, as well as some of the compounds available for medical applications. All kinds of disposable medical products, such as syringes, tubing, bags, gloves and sheets, are produced mainly in 'standard' plastics such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene and PVC. During the past few years there has been a marked growth in the use of higher-performance technical and engineering plastics, for components of medical equipment, particularly where repeated sterilization cycles are required, and for implants and prostheses. For packaging, there is extensive use of polyethylene and polypropylene for film and moulded closures and rigid PVC for 'blister' packaging and there is growing use of PET for bottles.

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