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Multiconductor Compatibility with Steam and Gas Plasma Sterilization

New England Wire Technologies Corporation has defined the sterilization compatibility of its proprietary jacket compounds used on ultra-flexible medical electronics cables. Two specialty silicone rubber compounds, NF11 and NF04, were evaluated for compatibility in both autoclave and the increasingly common STERRAD® gas plasma sterilization system developed by Advanced Sterilization Products (ASP). Additionally, a custom-formulated, matte-finish, thermoplastic polyurethane was evaluated for compatibility in the STERRAD® system.

Cables subjected to autoclave sterilization were evaluated for physical and visual changes every 50 cycles for 250 cycles. Both silicone jackets had useful physical properties at the end of the study, with specific properties predicted to retain over half their original value well beyond 250 cycles.

Cables subjected to STERRAD® gas plasma were repeatedly sterilized with minimal washing between cycles to create a “worst case” scenario for functional compatibility testing. Cables were evaluated for physical and visual changes every 25 cycles for 100 cycles. All three jacket materials demonstrated useful physical properties at the end of the study. Both silicone compounds are predicted to perform beyond 200 cycles, with potential enhancement using NEWtuf® construction. The specialty polyurethane offers additional stability with predicted usability for several hundred cycles.

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