It is widely known and published that modern sterilization techniques used in the healthcare industry can have a detrimental effect on thermoplastic polymers. In particular, gamma sterilization, which is the most common ionization method, can cause substantial changes to occur in polymeric materials. Polymer chain scission and cross linking can both occur, altering the physical properties and appearance of materials and ultimately affecting the functionality of a device utilizing these materials.
RTP Company’s TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) Division has initiated a series of projects to measure the effect different sterilization methods have on RTP Company’s standard TPE products used in medical devices. This paper discusses the effect gamma sterilization has on these various TPE compounds produced by RTP Company for the healthcare industry.