Porous material specialists Essentra Porous Technologies can engineer a wide range of components to perform high-level liquid and vapour-handling functions for a multitude of next-generation medical devices.
Custom-designed. Tailor-made. Regardless of the context, 'customised' denotes a higher degree of quality and performance. In developing next-generation medical devices or improving existing technologies, custom components engineered from porous materials provide specialised liquid and vapour-handling functionalities.
The core of porous materials
Bonded fibre and porous plastics possess wide ranges of capillarity, materials and dimensionality. With capacities for ultra-pure formulations and consistent reproduction, they can perform specific functions that are critical to many medical devices:
- Filtration: The act of mechanically separating impurities from solids and fluids. From filters that protect nebulisers from particulates and other contaminants to media used for haemodialysis, porous materials serve as ideal medical device filters. Fibre and porous plastics offer great latitudes in dimensionality and geometry, filtration efficiencies, flow rates, chemical resistance and heat tolerance.
- Repellency: The process of keeping a liquid away from a specific area; repelling fluid while conducting uniform airflow. The ability to cordon off liquids from specific internal areas of a device is often crucial to the integrity of electronics and critical mechanisms. However, other functions that conflict with fluid sealing often take place simultaneously, such as venting. Porous materials can solve these engineering challenges. For example, fibre pipette-tip filters can be engineered on a microscopic level to be hydrophobic and air permeable, repelling aerosols while enabling high airflow rates.
- Controlled release: To hold or contain a specific volume of fluid and permit its release in a controlled manner. The storage and release of liquid and powdered medical agents is an essential function to patient care, and porous materials offer significant advantages. For delivering pharmaceuticals, fibre drug-delivery reservoirs can be designed for direct administration or combining multiple drugs. Exact storage capacities eliminate potential errors in measurement, and specialised porosity can control the speed at which drugs are administered or mixed. Even for seemingly straightforward epicutaneous uses, porous materials provide a performance edge. The porosity of porous plastic applicator-tips can be customised for the specific viscosity of a liquid to provide precise and intuitively controlled application.
- Functional separation: Partitioning a liquid mixture into component parts. Fluid separation is vital to many procedures, and porous materials can streamline the process. Disposable porous plastic functional separators can isolate solution parts via gravity, selective absorption and repulsion. This can simplify procedures and technology by reducing moving parts while eliminating sample contamination related to traditional separator reuse.
Multiple materials, a multitude of functions
Combining different porous materials, each inherently well suited for specific tasks, can produce a hybrid component that delivers specialised functionalities.
Next-generation porous plastic suction-canister filter-valves vent operating-room waste-removal-system vacuum pressure while protecting against fluid contamination. Porous passageways enable high airflow rates and suction pressure, but, if the canister should overfill, a uniformly impregnated additive undergoes a self-sealing reaction upon contact with aqueous liquids. However, for smoke-inducing procedures such as electrocautery, an additional bonded fibre-sleeve can be employed to filter smoke and extend the life of the filter valve.
Fibre and porous plastics can be engineered to perform broad ranges of liquid and vapour-handling functions - this article simply provides a limited snapshot. When porous components are customised for specific devices and applications, the potential for specialised functionalities is almost limitless.