Sterilisation techniques for polymers
W.J. Rogers, Independent Healthcare Consultant, USA
The effect of terminal sterilisation techniques on medical polymers is diverse. Few sterilisation agents are without adverse effects on polymers: heat (steam and dry heat), radiation, ethylene oxide, ozone, hydrogen peroxide. Heat can alter, damage, degrade, distort and expand heat-sensitive polymers. Ethylene oxide is toxic and can leave toxic residues. Hydrogen peroxide and ozone can absorb, affect the gloss of, discolour and oxidise some polymers. Radiation can degrade, destroy and change molecular structures of some polymers. This chapter considers not only chemical and physical effects of sterilisation techniques, but also some effects ...