A new family of liquid silicone rubber (LSR) elastomers from NuSil Technology LLC, Carpinteria, Calif., boasts tensile strengths of up to 50% greater than existing silicone elastomers on the market, along with a combination of material properties that also make them uniquely soft and pliable. The High Strength Silicone platform is expected to pave the way for significant advancements in the design and performance of medical devices.
Among the high-performance healthcare applications to which these LSRs are targeted are balloon catheters, where the balloon must be easy to inflate, unbreakable, and must deflate fully for ease of removal. These high-strength silicones reportedly provide design engineers the ability to improve this class of devices by making them thinner, stronger and more resilient. They are said to bridge the gap in strength that has historically prevented manufacturers from upgrading to silicone from latex in high-use devices such as mechanical pumps. This technology affords manufacturers a super strong tubing alternative that has all the advantages of silicone—durability, translucency, biocompatibility, and no risk of latex-related allergies.