Idaho Patent of the Month – April 2022

For decades, polyester fibers and yarns have been a go-to “approved” biomaterial for use in biomedical and surgical implantable applications. Regular tenacity polyester is most commonly used, but this fiber-type has a tendency to break down in the body over time. Research suggests this is caused by a combination of constant chemical degradation and mechanical fatigue. With patients living longer than ever, the medical world is in dire need of reliable, long-lasting bio-textile devices.

RxFiber, LLC, an innovator in medical grade fibers, has recently developed a high tenacity fiber meant to last longer when implanted in the body. These yarns hold up against the great mechanical stress as well as the chemical stress supplied by our internal systems. 

This design is achieved using a series of micro fibers, each with their own high tenacity (i.e. between 7-9 gram-force per denier). Depending on the application, a single type of microfiber can be combined into a larger monofilament fiber or a variety can form a larger multifilament fiber. With this design, the fiber has substantial strength and durability. In fact, the fiber’s strength is nearly double that of a regular tenacity polyester. This means, a fiber of the same size will be twice as strong or you can achieve the same strength with a fiber half the size. This technology improves customization and applicability.

The material and fabrication method also leads to thermal melt, biocompatibility, and lowered product profile (smaller denier yarn). The thermal melt property allows engineers to melt the yarn ends to seal off the fabric. This novel characteristic replaces the need for glue while reducing the chance of the ends coming loose or tearing. In addition, since each larger fiber is made of multiple microfibers, the final product can have a customized size. This means catheters, sutures, and other devices can be made smaller. When devices are smaller, without losing strength, we can often achieve greater, non-invasive medical techniques.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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