Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) is a high strength, aromatic biomedical polymer with an impressive combination of mechanical properties and biological compatibility. With its excellent mechanical, puncture and abrasion properties, TPU is an ideal material for use in many medical device applications. Design engineers are increasingly choosing TPU for medical applications, thanks to the material’s desirable chemical properties, excellent mechanical characteristics and biocompatibility.
Why use TPU?TPU is well recognised and is widely used in the medical device industry for a diverse range of applications due to its high performance characteristics. With its excellent mechanical properties, durability, and resistance against oils and chemicals, TPU is an ideal material for use in many medical applications. TPU belongs to the family of materials known as thermoplastic elastomers (TPE). TPU offers virtually the same level of elasticity as cross-linked elastomers (rubber) while at the same time offering the advantages that it can be processed like a thermoplastic and is recyclable.
TPUs are widely used by orthopaedic device manufacturers to package hip, knee and spinal implants. Key features of TPU as a protective packaging material include;
- Excellent abrasion resistance
- Good processing capabilities across a wide range of temperatures
- Highly resistant to oils, greases and many solvents
- Good elasticity properties
- Intrinsically soft and flexible enabling easy converting to pouches and sleeves
- Excellent resistance to high-energy radiation
While there are many grades of TPU to choose from, processing flexibility is a consistent feature of TPU regardless of which chemistry is selected. This provides medical device design engineers with numerous packaging alternatives as the TPU can be injection-moulded, thermoformed, die-cut, and welded into multiple shapes and sizes. The AQF Medical engineering team are available to assist customers with material selection and product packaging design .