Understanding Low-Friction Coatings for Medical Devices

Understanding Low-Friction Coatings for Medical Devices

An expert offers a primer on popular medical device coatings and their applications.

In the world of low friction, lubricious coatings for medical devices are diverse and complex. There are many different types of coatings, each with their own advantages, disadvantages, and applications. This is a basic overview of the most popular medical device coatings and what can be expected from each type.

Lubricious coatings are most commonly distinguished by their degree of lubricity, or the amount of reduction in friction they provide. To understand what these measurements mean, we must first learn how these measurements are obtained. In the medical device industry, friction is measured by what is known as a pinch test. In a pinch test, a coated device is secured on an instrument that pulls the device between the jaws of a clamp which produces 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).  CoF = Forcepull/ Forceclamp

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