Medical steel, also known as surgical steel, has proven itself as the best option in medicine for several reasons. The stringent requirements for durable and hypoallergenic metals need to be adhered to in an increasingly litigious field.
What are some requirements for medical steel?
Both for implants and instruments, medical steel is characterised by the following:
There is no room for medical devices to chemically react with bodily tissues. This means that the steel of choice needs to have a high corrosion resistance and a low carbon content. In addition, these same tools will be subjected to frequent cleaning and sterilisation to which the metal needs to be impervious and not suffer wear and tear.
Considering the range of unique requirements in the medical field, medical steel needs to be workable and able to be shaped without annealing. For example, 304 stainless steel enjoys a low yield strength with a high elongation potential which allows for complex shapes and a variety of uses.
Surgical steel can be created to operate at incredibly low temperatures. In fact, at these frigid temperatures, these particular steels have a higher tensile strength than they would at ambient temperatures.
Exciting innovations in the steel field are coming thick and fast.
“Engineers at the University of Birmingham designed stainless steel that is resistant to bacteria. It turns out a surface made with silver, nitrogen and oxygen can keep bacteria at bay.
“The technique is called Active Screen Plasma (ASP). Scientists use ASP to build a hybrid metal surface. So when silver is put into a stainless steel surface, it can give the metal the ability to fight off bacteria. Nitrogen and carbon make the new material harder to the touch, so that when it goes through cleaning it can resist normal wear and tear.” (Source)
This big and fascinating topic again highlights the versatility and durability of steel.
For more information on medical steel for your next project, please call the Steelmor team.