Materials for Medical Catheters

Materials used for medical catheters must have good biocompatibility, appropriate mechanical strength, flexibility, and stable chemical properties. The following are some of the common materials used in the manufacture of medical catheters:

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

  • Characteristics: Moderate flexibility and strength, easy to process, low cost.
  • Applications: Commonly used in the manufacture of IV catheters, urinary catheters, and endotracheal tubes.

Polyurethane (PU)

  • Characteristics: excellent biocompatibility and flexibility, good chemical resistance and wear resistance.
  • Applications: for central venous catheters, arterial catheters and long-term implantable catheters.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) / expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE)

  • Characteristics: Very low coefficient of friction, good temperature and chemical resistance.
  • Applications: Used for cardiac catheters and some peripheral vascular catheters.

Silicone rubber (Silicone)

  • Features: excellent biocompatibility and flexibility, high heat resistance.
  • Applications: Commonly used for gastric tubes, nasogastric tubes, chest drains and some implantable catheters.

Polyethylene (PE)

  • Characteristics: Stiffer, flexible and chemically resistant.
  • Applications: Used in the manufacture of single-use medical catheters.

Polycarbonate

  • Characteristics: good transparency, high strength, good heat resistance.
  • Application: Mostly used in the manufacture of catheter connecting parts with visual requirements.

Polypropylene (PP)

  • Characteristics: Good chemical resistance, high fatigue resistance, low cost.
  • Applications: Commonly used in the manufacture of conduit components with high structural strength requirements.

Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE)

  • Characteristics: Combines the properties of plastic and rubber with good flexibility and elasticity.
  • Applications: Suitable for catheter applications requiring softness and comfort.

Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)

  • Characteristics: Good abrasion resistance, oil and fat resistance, good flexibility.
  • Applications: Suitable for long term implantation or medical catheter applications where abrasion resistance is required.

Polyester (PET)

  • Characteristics: High strength, good pressure resistance, hard.
  • Applications: for catheters requiring high strength and pressure resistance.

Polysulfone (PSU) / Polyethersulfone (PESU)

  • Characteristics: high temperature resistance, good mechanical properties, chemical resistance.
  • Applications: Used for medical device components that are high temperature resistant or require a high degree of transparency.

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