Nano-reinforced composites for minimally invasive devices, such as catheters, with reinforcement loadings up to 30% by weight is being offered by Foster. Nano-reinforced compounds with high filler loadings provide a substantial increase in physical properties of the base resin while maintaining processability in thin wall components. Nano-reinforced compounds incorporate ultra-fine nano platelets that interact directly with the polymer structure to increase flexural properties and improve rigidity of components.
Foster say that previously polymers such as polyamides (nylons) and thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) were often limited to 15% nano-reinforcement filler loading by weight to ensure dispersion of the ultra-fine platelets in the polymer matrix. Foster has developed proprietary compounding screw designs and processing methods that are now capable of achieving loadings up to 30% by weight resulting in flexural modulus increases up to 300% in common medical catheter materials such as TPEs. The range of nano-reinforced compounds for thin-wall medical device applications include nylons, TPEs and thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) with nano-platelet reinforcement loadings from 1% to as high as 30%.The nano-reinforcement technology allows engineers to tailor the properties of a medical device without changing the base polymer, which may be necessary to for co-extrusion or bonding applications.