Described as an industry first, a cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) elastomer has been introduced by Topas Advanced Polymers. The developmental grades are targeted as a high-performance alternative to traditional flexible materials for medical and pharmaceutical packaging applications. They extend Topas’s technology platform beyond the current line of amorphous transparent grades, notes the company. “These transparent polymers now deliver toughness and flexibility that go well beyond typical cyclic olefin resins,” says Timothy Kneale, president of TOPAS Advanced Polymers Inc.
Production evaluations show that the new elastomers possess strength and stiffness suitable for numerous flexible applications. Features, as reported by Topas, include:
- tensile modulus at 6400 psi
- elongation at break >450%
- low dielectric properties comparable to some fluoroelastomers
- good ductile properties at temperatures below -80°C.
The initial grade of elastomer is highly flexible and has an 89 Shore A hardness. It meets USP Class VI requirements for use in medical devices. Like standard Topas COC grades, the new elastomer grades are high-purity resins with low leachables and extractables, making them suitable for flexible PVC and TPE replacement in medical tubing, IV bags and other healthcare applications. A recent successful trial in medical tubing has demonstrated the material’s strong kink-resistance.
Early testing shows that the new COC elastomer withstands both gamma and E-beam sterilisation. It can be injection moulded and extruded into film, sheet, tubing, or other components on existing processing equipment. Unlike some thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU), the material requires no predrying.
Evaluations have also shown that Topas’s COC elastomers can be used as a modifier for COC in multilayer film formulations that require greater toughness and enhanced sustainability. Film strength is greatly improved in COC formulations containing 25% or less of the new elastomer.
The company has completed commercial-scale production runs and is actively testing and validating early preproduction samples tailored to specific end-use applications.