Will Autoclaving Melt Medical Device Adhesives?

Q: "What type of medical device adhesive will bond metals/plastics and will melt when it is in an autoclave sterilization? That is, we need the adhesive to NOT survive the autoclave sterilization."

A;  Sterilization by autoclaving is limited to certain applications. Many Dymax medical device adhesives have a difficult time holding up to autoclaving because of the high temperature, humidity, and pressure involved in the process. Due to these factors, there can be a weakened bond join that results in failure.

Despite the fact that many of our adhesives will not hold up to this process, they will not actually melt and disintegrate completely.

Dymax adhesives are thermoset rather than thermoplastic materials. This means that once the crosslinking occurs upon cure, this cannot be reversed. While the adhesives will never go back to their original liquid state, they will soften and become more “gummy” when exposed to high temperatures above the glass transition (Tg) or when exposed to high levels of humidity.

In short, our adhesives will not melt during autoclave sterilization, but they will become softer and easier to peel off the substrates.

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