IET - The Impact of Surfaces on Medical Devices
24th November 2021 11:00 am
To borrow a well-known phrase: “God made the bulk; the surface was invented by the devil” – Wolfgang Pauli. No matter what the sector, or application, the surface can enhance a device, or ensure its demise. Often quoted, corrosion was estimated to cost 3.4% of the global GDP in 2013.
Within the medical device sector, the scales are very different, but the issues around surface reactivity and degradation are equally important. The longevity of an orthopaedic device is typically limited by its long-term response to the body rather than the physical strength of the device.
The struggle between bulk and surface properties has to be accounted for, especially with new techniques such as Additive Manufacturing being used to print metal, polymeric, ceramic and biological structures. Appropriate characterisation, and utilising the increased resolution and computing power available can help balance the scales between the bulk and the surface.
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