WEB EXCLUSIVE: Through a special manufacturing process, TPE tubing with one or more lumens is being extruded inside thermoset polyimide medical tubing. PolyMedex Discovery Group, Putnam, Conn., developed this approach to combine the best properties of both materials. Thermoset polyimide (PI) has a tensile strength of at least 20,000 psi (139 MPa), which is 30% higher than high-performance thermoplastics such as PEEK. Due to its hard, glossy surface, PI is also ideal for device working channels, improving passability of metal devices such as implants. Further, PI resists the harshest chemicals and has a dielectric strength of 10,200 V. It can be produced with ID tolerances of ±0.0002 to 0.0005 in. (0.0051 to 0.013 mm), suiting it to small-diameter vascular device assemblies where high strength and tight tolerances are needed. The greates limitation of thermoset PI is that it is available only with a round single lumen and is difficult to bond, color, or heat-form. In contrast, TPEs can be extruded in virtually unlimited configurations, with a wide variety of hardnesses, and are heat-formable after extrusion to create critical catheter components like tips and flares for connector fittings.
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