Silicone is an essential manufacturing material across a wide range of industries. Over the years, it has become the go-to substance for making several devices and apparatuses, particularly in the medical and pharmaceutical fields. This colorless, rubber-like substance is essential to many life-saving tools and applications, from adhesives to implants to lubricants. While its availability and versatility are enough in its favor, silicone has several other unique properties that make it a favorite in the medical industry. Here are a few of them.
Since many medical tools, particularly surgical equipment and implants, come into contact with bodily fluids and other sensitive organs, they must be non-contaminant so as not to introduce toxins to the patients. Due to its chemical inactivity, medical-grade silicone is a perfect choice. It’s resistant to bacterial growth, water, mold, and mildew, and can therefore come in contact with skin and even reside within the human body for long periods.
There are strict regulations governing the production of medical implements. Medical-grade silicone is one of the few materials that meet the requirements for the manufacture of long-term implants.
The compounds that make up silicone’s chemical backbone are extremely strong, demonstrating strong resistance to pressure, extreme temperatures, and radiation. Medical manufacturers consider durability a very important feature when selecting materials for equipment. This is because medical tools usually go through thorough chemical and heat sterilization.
While other plastics might tear, degrade or change color during these processes, silicone remains stable within the varying pressure and temperature demands. This is why it’s excellent for making medical seals, feeding devices, and IV components.
Silicone is flexible and soft, so it can be formed into products of different shapes and sizes as required. This flexibility offers a unique advantage as it allows the silicone to be used in prototyping medical products before they are developed. The prototypes can then be converted into products using injection molding, transfer molding, or compression molding. Due to its pliability, many medical experts have opined that silicone would be a driving component for medical manufacturing for many years.
Silicone is both comfortable and conformable thanks to its component chain. As such, it guarantees less trauma and minimal chance of injury for patients who might have to undergo uncomfortable procedures and implantations. Silicone fits well with organs and is suitable for low-trauma injury care products, including bandages and surgical tapes, because it reduces the risk of adhesive-related irritation or sensitivity. Moreover, it’s great for medical devices worn outside the body, such as prosthetics and respiratory masks.
For a material that is so versatile, silicone is affordable. Like several other industries, medical manufacturers are always looking for ways to reduce costs, improve the quality of their products and extend their use to even more individuals. Everyone deserves sound health, and the popularity of silicone has to a large extent ensured that medical professionals and patients experience greater quality practice, care, and safety while manufacturers can still make a profit.
Silicone materials have been used in medicine for over 60 years. Even with more medical technology and manufacturing advancements, it has established itself as a mainstay in modern medical care. This high-performance material ticks all the boxes, a superior property that will continue to make it desirable across industries in the coming years.