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Biocompatible Coatings

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Q. I am an engineer working on a biomedical research program. I am in the process of developing sensors to be implanted in humans to monitor body functions. For various reasons, these sensors have parts fabricated from metals other than stainless steel. Stainless steel is biocompatible, while the others are not. It was suggested that I paint these non-biocompatible materials with organic coatings. Organic surface coatings technology is obviously not within my areas of expertise, since I was trained as an electrical engineer. Therefore, the coatings I chose do not meet the specifications required for biomedical devices especially when implanted. 

Can you recommend biocompatible organic coatings for this application? D.K.

 
 
A. Since biomedical research is not my area of expertise, we are even. However, it is well known that silicone and fluorocarbon materials are not affected by living tissue and body fluids and have been successfully implanted in living bodies without rejection. Coatings based on silicone and fluorocarbon resins can be applied to a variety of substrates. While catalyzed silicone coatings will cure at ambient temperatures, fluorocarbon coatings must be baked or fused at relatively high temperatures. I suggest you consider these materials as coatings for the metallic parts of your sensors.
 

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