One of the largest subsets of the life sciences industry is the medical field, which also tends to be the hardest on equipment. On top of standing up to tough environments, all medical equipment and devices need to meet stringent quality standards and provide highly precise results. Life sciences plastics can help achieve all of these needs — they're already used every day in hospitals and medical facilities around the world!
Which Plastics are Used in Life Sciences?
Not every type of plastic is suitable for the medical environment. Plastics in life sciences have to withstand several forms of sterilization, reagents, bodily fluids and, in some cases, radiation and extreme temperatures. As such, it takes the strongest and most durable plastics to do an effective job.
Acrylic is a life sciences plastic most commonly used for in-vitro diagnostics devices — in other words, devices for performing tests outside of the human body in order to monitor diseases, infections and drug treatments. Acrylic can handle exposure to reagents, wash and sterilization fluids and, of course, the bodily fluids being tested. And it can do so without becoming discolored or breaking down and contaminating the samples.
Plastics in life sciences are sometimes only meant for one-time use. Certain varieties of polycarbonate are often used to make these one-time medical devices like hypodermic needles, syringes and suction catheters, thanks to the plastic's clarity and ease of machining.
Other forms of polycarbonate are designed to withstand multiple uses for applications like surgical equipment, instrument components and housings or covers for medical devices. These kinds of polycarbonate can withstand gamma, radiation and E-Beam or limited autoclaving sterilization techniques.
When used as a life sciences plastic, polypropylene is formed into surgical trays and sterilization containers — anything that may need to withstand high temperatures. Polypropylene is an ideal choice because of its considerable chemical, impact and abrasion resistance. It is also an economical alternative to HDPE or ABS, which are other popular industrial-grade plastic sheets.
Continue Learning About Plastics in Life Sciences at A&C Plastics
If you want to learn more about life sciences plastics to see if they would be right for your needs, check out the rest of our resources. You can also view every plastic for life sciences that we carry in our extensive inventory of plastic sheets here at A&C Plastics. Contact us today for a custom quote on your life sciences project!