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Electrically Conductive Polymers Boost Device Performance

Originally Published MPMN October 2002

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Electrically Conductive Polymers Boost Device Performance

More than 20 base resins are available

Electrically conductive polymers can help to enhance a product's performance while reducing its footprint.

Electrically conductive engineered materials protect medical equipment from static buildup, electrostatic discharge (ESD), and electromagnetic or radio-frequency interference (EMI/RFI). With formulations in more than 20 rigid and elastomeric thermoplastic base resins, the Stat-Tech product line from PolyOne (Avon Lake, OH) was developed to meet these requirements while helping design engineers to enhance performance and safety in ever-smaller packages.

According to the firm, Stat-Tech materials are specified where performance issues such as surface resistivity, processability, use environment, shrinkage, colorability, chemical resistance, and dimensional stability are critical to the safe and effective operation of a device. The company's use of antistatic additives, as well as fillers and reinforcements such as carbon black, carbon fiber, and metallized fiber, offers benefits not found in antistatic coatings, according to the firm.

The use of additives ensures that conductive properties are present throughout the entire part and do not wear off with use. The surface resistivity of Stat-Tech compounds ranges from 100 to 1012 W/cm2. RFI and EMI shielding applications typically are at the low end of the spectrum, while antistatic and ESD applications are at the high end. Conductive property ranges can be custom formulated for specific OEM needs. Fine-tuning formulations to suit processes and equipment is one of the company's strengths, notes director of global market development Jeff Frankish.

"We understand how differences in process equipment and tooling can affect the electrical properties of a given component," says Frankish. "This is particularly important as products and applications are translated globally to new processors," he adds. PolyOne prides itself on working closely with OEMs and molders to develop compounds that will produce predictable, consistent results. The company also offers a number of support services, such as in-house computer-aided engineering, analysis, and testing.

Applications for the Stat-Tech compounds include oscilloscopes and monitors, laser collimation and calibration equipment, conductive pipettes, and a variety of medical devices. Rigid resin families available in Stat-Tech grades include ABS, acetals, LCPs, polycarbonates, melt-processable fluoropolymers, PEEK, polyethersulfones, polyethylenes, and polypropylenes. Elastomeric compounds range from copolyesters and copolyamides to PVC and nitrile blends.

Norbert Sparrow

PolyOne Corp., 33587 Walker Rd., Avon Lake, OH 44012; phone: 866/765-9663; fax: 440/930-3064; [email protected]; www.polyone.com

Copyright ©2002 Medical Product Manufacturing News

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