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Browse our glossary of medical terms

Medical Coating Industry Terms

Antimicrobial Coating

An antimicrobial surface contains an antimicrobial agent that inhibits or reduces the ability of microorganisms to grow on the surface of a material. The most common and most important use of an antimicrobial coating has been for sterilization of medical devices to prevent infections.

Biomaterial Surface Modification

Biomaterials exhibit various degrees of compatibility with the harsh environment within a living organism. They need to be nonreactive chemically and physically with the body, as well as integrate when with tissue. The surface can be modified in many ways, including plasma modification and applying coatings to the substrate. Surface modifications can be used to affect surface energy, adhesion, biocompatibility, chemical inertness, lubricity, sterility, asepsis, thrombogenicity, susceptibility to corrosion, degradation, and hydrophilicity.


A coating is a covering that is applied to the surface of an object, usually referred to as the substrate.

Coefficient of Friction

The ratio between the force necessary to move one surface horizontally over another and the pressure between the two surfaces. In the world of medical coatings, lubricious coatings are most commonly distinguished by their degree of lubricity, or in other words, the amount of reduction in friction they provide.

Dip Coating

Dip coating is an industrial process for coating medical devices. Devices are lowered into individual solution tubes to dip them in the coating during the process.

Drug Delivery

Drug delivery refers to approaches, formulations, technologies, and systems for transporting a pharmaceutical compound in the body as needed to safely achieve its desired therapeutic effect.

Friction Test

In a Friction Test, a coated device is secured on an instrument that pulls the device between the jaws of a clamp which producing a load on the part. While clamped, the coated part is pulled at a fixed speed for a fixed distance, and the resistance to the pull is measured in grams of pull force. The grams of pull force needed to overcome the friction produced by the clamps divided by the clamp force yields the coefficient of friction (CoF).

Hydrophilic Lubricious Coating

A hydrophilic lubricious coating is designed to reduce friction and enhance maneuverability of medical devices such as catheters by maintaining lubricity throughout the procedure. Hydrophilic coatings or materials attract water and become wet very easily.

ISO 10993 Biocompatibility

The ISO 10993 set entails a series of standards for evaluating the biocompatibility of medical devices.

Medical Device

A medical device is any instrument, apparatus, appliance, software, material, or other article—whether used alone or in combination, including the software intended by its manufacturer to be used specifically for diagnostic and/or therapeutic purposes and necessary for its proper application—intended by the manufacturer to be used for human beings.

Medical Device Coating

Some medical devices require a chemical agent (or coating) to be applied on the surface to prevent infection or reduce friction when entering the human body.

Method Development

Details, parameters, process, and validation steps required for coating medical devices.

Spray Coating

Thermal spraying techniques are coating processes in which heated materials are sprayed onto a surface.

UV Curing

High intensity ultraviolet light is used to create a photochemical reaction that instantly dries (cures) inks, adhesives and coatings by polymerization rather than by evaporation.