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Rutgers researchers test polymer reliability for medical implants

NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. Sascha Abramson has been investigating new methods to ensure that polymer medical implants in the human body dont fail. Abramson looked at degradable polymers, ones the body can ultimately absorb, to gain a deeper understanding of how and why their structures change crucial parts of a puzzle that must be solved for polymers to perform predictably and successfully in medical implants.

Her research was conducted as a postdoctoral associate at Rutgers New Jersey Center for Biomaterials in the laboratory of Joachim Kohn, Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Kohn and Abramson co-authored a paper on her findings presented in New Orleans today at the 225th American Chemical Society (ACS) national meeting.

Abramson points out that polymers or plastics are different from other materials that have solid, liquid and gaseous phases. Some polymers exhibit two solid states a rubbery state and a glassy state. There is a transition in polymers where they go from a hard, glassy state to a rubbery state. They leave their glassy state when they cross a threshold temperature we call the glass transition temperature, said Abramson.

She cited the example of cold chewing gum being hard in the package, but softening in the mouth as it warms up above its glass transition temperature and goes into its rubbery state.

The research discussed in the ACS presentation focused on how changes in a polymers immediate environment and alterations in its glass transition temperature might affect the materials stability once it becomes part of a medical implant.

Abramson said that traditionally polymer testing has often been done on dry materials. The point I am making is that we cant look only at the dry glass transition temperature. Thats not going to be relevant once you put polymers in the body, Abramson stated. In the b
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Contact: Bill Haduch
bhaduch@ur.rutgers.edu
732-932-7084 x633
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
23-Mar-2003


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