Third-party test results validate the multiple sterilization capabilities of SABIC Innovative Plastics’ remarkably tough Ultem* HU1004 polyetherimide (PEI) resin. This high-performance resin – previously utilized for other techniques and now tested for use with the STERRAD® NX® low-temperature hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilization – gives healthcare providers the flexibility to choose any major method for sterilizing trays, electronic medical devices and other applications. The data revealed that Ultem HU1004 resin has significant performance and aesthetic advantages – in particular, ductility and color stability – over competitive materials such as polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) that are used for STERRAD® NX® sterilization. Ultem HU1004 resin’s validation underscores SABIC Innovative Plastics’ commitment to providing its healthcare customers with the highest quality materials to meet their needs for process simplification and performance.
“SABIC Innovative Plastics healthcare materials undergo rigorous performance testing in the development of new, high-end applications,” said Tom O’Brien, marketing director, Healthcare, SABIC Innovative Plastics. “And based on independent lab testing, Ultem HU1004 resin meets critical industry sterilization demands, including higher-temperature autoclaving, ethylene oxide, and gamma radiation for enhanced safety, and low-temperature sterilization processes to protect delicate electronic devices. Ultem HU1004 resin is fast becoming a leading choice among global OEMs for an expanding range of applications because it delivers stable performance and excellent aesthetics regardless of the sterilization method used.”
Ultem resins have a long and distinguished legacy in the healthcare industry, where they have demonstrated strength, stability, chemical resistance and dependable performance in applications such as surgical devices (tissue stabilizers, skin staplers and laparoscopic device handles), medical equipment including anesthesia machines and orthopedic devices.
SABIC IP commissioned SPS Medical, an independent testing lab located in Rush, New York. SPS exposed samples of Ultem resin and PPSU to STERRAD® NX® sterilization in increments of 50 cycles up to 300; these samples were then evaluated by SABIC Innovative Plastics’ technical experts. The findings demonstrate that the resin provides superior color stability vs. PPSU. In fact, PPSU showed a color shift up to 10 times greater than Ultem HU1004 resin, becoming significantly yellowed after only 100 STERRAD® NX® cycles. Ultem resin also delivered superior mechanical properties, including retention of mass and impact performance, compared to PPSU. Following are key findings from the testing:
Weight Loss (after 150 and 300 STERRAD® NX® cycles)
• Resin lost less than a total of 0.5% of its weight after 150 and 300 STERRAD® NX® cycles
• PPSU had a 2.25% weight loss after 150 STERRAD® NX® cycles and a 7.7% loss after 300 cycles.
Tensile Properties Retention (after 150 and 300 STERRAD® NX® cycles)
• Resin retained >99% of its tensile strength at 150 cycles and 98 percent at 300 cycles. For tensile elongation at break, the Ultem resin retained 94% of performance at 150 cycles and 77% at 300 cycles.
• PPSU retained 96% of tensile strength at 150 cycles and 91% at 300 cycles. The material became brittle and retained only 12% of its elongation at 150 cycles, and 11% at 300 cycles.