Rising demand for lightweight & durable medical devices to spur polyphenylsulfone market demand

Rising demand for lightweight & durable medical devices to spur polyphenylsulfone market demand

The polyphenylsulfone market has a wide application scope, owing mainly to the popularity of the product in components that come into contact with corrosive & high-temperature media, including medical device parts, sterilizable nursing & healthcare products, pipe fittings, and batter containers, among others.

The medical domain has historically been dominated by the use of metal. Numerous medical instruments such as cases, trays, surgical accessories, anesthesiology equipment, endoscopic devices, and more have predominantly been manufactured using metals such as aluminum and stainless steel. However, over the past few decades, the use of lightweight materials has surged rapidly in the medical industry, especially thermoplastics. One of the most commonly used thermoplastics in medical applications is polyphenylsulfone.

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Polyphenylsulfone, also known as PPSU, is a rigid, high-temperature, transparent engineering thermoplastic. A part of the polysulfone family, the material comprises of aromatic (phenyl) rings linked through SO2 (sulfone) groups.

PPSU is among the higher-performing substances in the polysulfone family. It possesses several beneficial properties including high tensile & flexural strength, high chemical & heat resistance, superior hydrolytic stability, and exception toughness, among others. In comparison with other polyethersulfones such as PES and PSU, PPSU demonstrates better mechanical properties and chemical resistance. Furthermore, the material is extremely resistant to bases, mineral acids, most solvents as well as oxidizing agents.

Polyphenylsulfone Market | Rising adoption of thermoplastics in medical device manufacturing

The integration of thermoplastics and other polymers in the modern medical landscape has witnessed a considerable upsurge over the past three decades. Plastics have contributed significantly to various benefits such as medical cost reduction and better management of pain and infectious diseases. The use of plastics for medical device manufacturing such as advanced artificial limb prosthetics, as well as other plastic disposable delivery devices is growing steadily in the present scenario, in turn decreasing infection risk among patients.

Thermoplastics such as PPSU offer myriad benefits to patients and practitioners alike, by ensuring improved and safer medical practices and prolonged medical device shelf life. For instance, patients with allergies to certain metal components can gain substantial benefits from hypoallergenic, sterile sulfone polymer materials, thus enabling better treatment and care.

In addition to design flexibility and light-weighting advantages, the burgeoning adoption of plastics for medical devices can be attributed to an additional crucial aspect; sterilization resistance. For instance, Solvay’s sulfone polymer Radel® polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) has been designed as a suitable alternative for metal replacement in medical devices, making them much lighter and easier to clean and customize. Moreover, the high strength of the polymer ensures that devices manufactured using the product can withstand over 1,000 steam sterilizations, without any deterioration in their properties.

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Polyphenylsulfone Market | Strong contribution of medtech entities towards COVID-19 efforts

With the deadly impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic spreading rapidly across the globe, medical technology entities, OEMs and contract manufacturers are rapidly shifting their focus towards accommodating the needs of frontline healthcare workers.

For instance, Solvay is responding in earnest to the growing need for protective equipment as a defense against the COVID-19 disease, by providing medical-grade, high-performance PPSU transparent film to Boeing, to boost its efforts in face shield production. The material is used widely in the production of medical devices as it can withstand contact with aggressive disinfectants and undergo several sterilization procedures.

This collaboration between Solvay and Boeing was initiated mainly due to the chemical company’s experience in leveraging advanced composite and other materials for diverse defense and commercial programs. Under the terms of the collaboration, Solvay’s Radel polyphenylsulfone medical-grade film will be used by Boeing in the manufacturing of face shields, which are facing heavy demand from medical workers and hospitals across the US to protect them from exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

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