High Performance Polysulfone for Healthcare Applications

See How BASF's Ultrason® (Polysulfone) Product Line Works in the Healthcare Industry.

One of the major suppliers that we work with at Amco is BASF Corporation. Since the 1930s, BASF has been a key industry leader in plastics development. They are known worldwide for their comprehensive product line of engineered plastics. Among their high-performance thermoplastics is Ultrason®, a polyarylsulfone (PPSU, PSU, PESU) used in high-quality parts in healthcare, household, electrical and automotive industries.

Ultrason, is known for its high resistance to chemicals, superheated steam and stress cracking without losing properties. These qualities make it an excellent material candidate for safety and regulatory-driven applications, such as medical devices, water filtration systems and kitchenware.

In this month’s plastics spotlight issue, we discuss the various healthcare applications of BASF’s polysulfone product line.

Quality Control on Healthcare Grade Plastics

Quality operational controls are an essential requirement for healthcare plastics manufacturing. FDA registration and ISO 13485 certification are required to manufacture and develop healthcare grade plastics. Each device grade demands different specifications: aesthetics, water absorption, lubricity and wear resistance should always be considered.

One of the key properties in healthcare grade plastics is sterilization method, especially single versus repeat sterilization. Steam sterilization of reusable medical devices requires materials that are resistant to degradation from water at temperatures ranging from 250 F (121 C) to 273 F (134 C) for 15 to 30 minutes. PSU (polysulfone) is an ideal thermoplastic for these applications because it can withstand repeated steam sterilization without degradation of properties. Let’s take a closer look at some of the common healthcare applications of PSU.

Polysulfone Healthcare Applications

Transparent part of anesthesia masks: PSU is combined with flexible silicone that conforms to the patient anatomy. It’s reusable and can undergo multiple steam sterilization treatments.

Pharmaceutical filter housings: PSU is durable, non-toxic, highly break-resistant and transparent. It exhibits low protein-binding and is easy to clean.

Heart valve sizers: Molded polysulfone sizers are dimensionally accurate, transparent and resistant to sterilizations for repeated use.

Dialysis filtration cartridges: Small, hollow polysulfone fibers offer ideal porosity and filtration characteristics for the membranes that remove toxins.

Implantable catheter ports: PSU is often applied for the outer shell of catheter ports used for venous access in oncology. PSU is transparent for CT scans, maintains dimensionality, and is resistant to various drugs and chemical exposure.

Surgical instrument tray covers: These high impact thermoplastic parts are able to withstand steam and sterilization processes without clarity degradation.

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