Vetex assists in the development of reusable medical laminates

In cooperation with Centexbel, Vetex has developed reusable medical laminates. The medical laminates can be divided into surgical gowns and drapes. The gowns are worn by surgical staff while the drapes are laid on the patient around the zone where the invasive surgery takes place so as to prevent infections. The medical industry pays a lot of attention to the comfort of the gowns, but the choice of the textile fabrics also needs to be well considered. Just think about doctors, nurses and surgeons, who need sterile clothing every day.

 

 

 

 


The development of the medical laminates was a major challenge in view of the numerous demands the fabric had to meet:
•    water vapour permeability (breathable textile)
•    Resistant to industrial washing and sterilisation
•    Viral and blood barrier (ASTM 1670 and 1671)
•    Bacterial barrier (EN 13795)


Medical laminates with PU and PTFE membranes have been developed. During the development Vetex drew on the expertise of Centexbel. Reference materials were characterised so as to develop better-performing laminates. An analysis of SEM and optical microscopy images enabled us to gain knowledge about the suitability of membranes, the structure of the laminate, the effect of washing and sterilisation on the membrane as well as on the laminate performance, and the application of the hot melts to both the membrane and to the fabric.
 

Membranes were characterised further by means of infrared (IR) and mass spectrometry. Hot melts were analysed using IR spectrometry and an IR library was made, which made it possible to select the suitable hot melt for the different membrane types via a study of the application of the hot melt to the membranes conducted by means of SEM: PTFE for example has a low surface tension, as a result of which only a small number of suitable adhesives (hot melts) can be found. Centexbel eventually tested the viral and bacterial density to assess the performance of the laminate before and after washing/drying/sterilisation (WDA). The laminates we have developed are antiviral and antibacterial, resist WDA processes and are furthermore breathable.

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