Polyurethane Nanocomposites as Biomaterials – Mechanical Performance, Morphology and Biocompatibility

D. Martin, A. Fazlina Osman, Y. Andriani, A. Padsalgikar, M. Svehla, P. Halley, R. Minchin
The University of Queensland, AU

Keywords: polyurethane, nanocomposite, nanotoxicology

Summary:

Polyurethanes are excellent potential materials for the construction of implantable medical components due to their very good mechanical properties and biocompatibility. Currently, soft silicone materials are employed as insulation for implantable Cochlear electrode arrays. Siloxane-based thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) nanocomposites containing synthetic layered silicates are being investigated as new insulation materials with superior tensile/tear strength and reduced surface tack, potentially allowing a thinner insulation and more intricate electrode designs. In this paper we present new insights into our understanding of both the structure-property relationships at play in these complex systems, as well as the toxicity of the nanofillers and quantification of their in-vitro release from these biomaterials. We demonstrate that in performing these studies simultaneously, we can identify formulations with genuine promise for future medical device applications.