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Thermoplastic Carbon Fibre Composites Ideal For High Strength Medical Components

Fri, 04/15/2011 - 6:54am
Thermoplastic Carbon Fibre Composites Ideal For High Strength Medical ComponentsEnsinger, Inc. recently launched a series of highly loaded thermoplastic carbon fibre composites ideal for medical components. Components made of this composite material offer high mechanical strength as well as excellent heat distortion properties. Stock shapes made using the new TECATEC product series consist of a thermoplastic matrix and a woven fabric of carbon fibre bundles. This combination ensures the achievement of significantly higher tensile and flexural strength compared to fibre reinforced extrudates. The lightweight materials offer good chemical resistance as well, and are also radiolucent, making them ideally suited for external fixation devices and surgical instruments.

TECATEC PEEK CW50 is manufactured using the matrix polymer VICTREX PEEK, which is then compressed with laminated woven carbon fabric mats. A special coating on the fabric helps to reduce the number of defects. A carbon fibre fabric component of 50 per cent ensures extremely good torsional stiffness and minimal tendency to warp even after multiple sterilization cycles. These attributes make for a long service life of components. This new material is the result of close co-operation between the Ensinger Group and Victrex Polymer Solutions. The two companies have agreed to work closely together on the development and marketing of new applications for PEEK products.

The other composite material offered within the Ensinger portfolio is TECATEC PEKK CW60, which consists of a polyetherketoneketone matrix (PEKK), laminated with a 60 per cent carbon fibre fabric. The proprietary manufacturing process used achieves excellent fibre and matrix integration. Because of its high glass transition point (165°C), PEKK is resistant to repeated steam sterilization cycles, while its enhanced carbon fibre component ensures even higher dimensional stability and stiffness.

Medical technology is the single most important field of application for TECATEC products. Both materials are physiologically harmless (biocompatibility in accordance with ISO 10993-5) and corrosion resistant. In orthopaedic applications, radiolucent, low-warpage targeting fixtures made of carbon fibre composites are used for positioning fixing pins. The extreme strength of these composite materials also offers benefits when used in the manufacture of spreaders or in components for the external fixture of bone fractures.

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