Bop Stopper Keeps Smiles Intact With Cross-linked Polyolefin Foam
LAWRENCE, MA (November 17, 1997) – Using relatively inexpensive foam materials, a Pennsylvania pediatric dentist has developed a sophisticated, multi-use disposable mouth guard any parent or sports team can afford. In addition, the Bop Stopper mouth guard can be trimmed for a custom fit in a matter of minutes.
The Bop Stopper was invented by Theodore P. Croll, D. D. S, who has treated numerous sports related dental injuries during his career. He said that there has always been a need for a low-cost mouth guard that is comfortable, protective, fits well and is readily adaptable to various mouth sizes and shapes. Teaming up with Be Safe Products, Inc. (Roanoke, Va.), Klann Plastics (Waynesboro, Va.) and Dentaurum USA (Newtown, Penn.), Croll designed the Bop Stopper using closed-celled, cross-linked polyolefin foam, similar to the protective material used in sports helmets.
A Few Dollars Worth of Cross-Linked Foam
LAWRENCE, MA (October 3, 1997) – Astronomers at Princeton University are using Volara, a fine-celled, cross-linked, polyethylene foam, to protect a $5.5 million digital camera from condensation and ice. The camera uses CCDs (charged couple devices) to sense light sources in the sky over a wide area. These sensitive devices are operated in a vacuum and continuously cooled to -80C with liquid nitrogen.
The 1/4″ stainless steel lines which deliver the liquid nitrogen must be kept free of ice and condensation because water would damage other sensitive components in the 30″ round camera. This is easier said than done since conventional insulating materials become inflexible and brittle, and disintegrate under cryogenic conditions. This can lead to expensive and time-consuming repairs and cleanups.
The CCD camera, built over a 4-year period at Princeton, will be installed at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico in the Fall of 1997 for use in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Data gathered in the survey will enable astronomers to construct a 3-D map of the universe, a thousand times larger than existing surveys.
Michael Carr, mechanical engineer and a senior professional staff member at Princeton University, explained that the CCD cooling system behaves like a high efficiency dehumidifier. “Normally, while running liquid nitrogen through a stainless steel tube, ice appears immediately. When the liquid nitrogen is turned off (which happens frequently with this type of cooling system), melting ice gets into areas where metal components can corrode and sensitive electronics can foul causing damage to expensive instrumentation.”
Snowboarders Protect Themselves
LAWRENCE, MA (September 19, 1997) – Janco Inc. of Dover, NH, is using Volara, fine-celled, irradiation, cross-linked foam to compression mold snowboarder fanny pads for their customer, Body Armor of Durham, NC. The pads are used by snowboarders to absorb shocks incurred in falls.
To fulfill the customer’s requirements, Janco needed a material that was both structurally sound and pleasing to the eye. According to Terry Wells, Athletic Sales Manager, after researching potential alternatives to meet customer specifications, Volara (manufactured by Voltek of Lawrence, MA) was the undisputed choice.
Volara is first laminated on one side with a moldable fabric and heated in an oven. Then, it is formed in a cold press . Well said, “The product holds its shape well and provides excellent cushioning. It bounces back after it receives a hit. The material is easy to work with and our customer is very pleased with it cosmetically.”
Medical Foam Substrates Improve Medical Device Performance and Reduce Manufacturing Costs
LAWRENCE, MA (February 3, 1997) – Cardiotronic Systems Inc. (Carlsbad, CA), a leading manufacturer of disposable electrodes for cardiac stimulation, is using medical foam substrates to improve performance and reduce manufacturing costs of its medical products. These include multi-function biomedical probes used for defibrillation, external pacing and cardioversion.
According to Jim Perrault, Director of Research and Development for Cardiotronics, the proprietary foam substrates, manufactured by Voltek (Lawrence, MA), are FDA-approved and lend themselves to a wide range of disposable medical devices. He elaborated on the properties which make foam an excellent substrate for biomedical electrodes:
Adhesive Coating: Volara provides an excellent substrate for the retention of precision adhesive coatings. Within Cardiotronics products, a perimeter type of adhesive holds components together. The foam in the disposable cardiac stimulation electrodes must adhere to both a foil and gel component. A more typical use of foam is for adhesion of the product directly to the patient’s body. This is generally referred to as foam tape. In a new Cardiotronic product design, the foam will replace white vinyl as the skin contact component.
Good Electrical Insulator: The Volara substrate serves as an electrical insulator which prevents arcing between biomedical probes. This ensures that the electrical current passes through the patient’s heart for effective electrotherapy. It also insulates the current from personnel, medical equipment, and electrical conductors such as nearby IV stands. A wide range of foam thicknesses offers the medical device designer an opportunity to select the most appropriate insulator for any application.
Tactile and Tensile Properties: Compared to a plastic substrate of similar thickness, Volara conforms better to body surfaces and provides a soft cushion that is more comfortable for the patient and less likely to cut or irritate skin. The texture of the foam provides an edge that is easier to grab when the device is being removed. Volara foam has a high strength-to-weight ratio, which makes it an excellent backing material for a disposable device.
Cosmetic Appeal and Consistency: Volara used in the design of disposable devices is uniformly clean and provided in white or tan colors appropriate for medical use. The products are guaranteed for consistency from lot to lot for high production yields.
Manufacturability: Precision coatings ensure an appropriate balance of adhesion for product integrity and ease of assembling the medical device. These products have a stiff release liner which allows for fast, clean cutting to whatever shape is needed.
Perrault says that cardiac stimulation is one of the most interesting applications of foam tape because it involves devices which are used in life-saving procedures. However, in his 17 years as a medical device designer, he has also used Volara widely in such applications as wound dressings, other types of biomedical electrodes, and transdermal drug delivery patches. He says that Voltek has established a niche in this market because of the unique thickness specifications and physical consistency of its products.
According to Perrault, “Transdermal drug delivery is probably the biggest growth area for polyolefin foam. Applications include nicotine patches, nitroglycerin patches, polymine patches for motion sickness, estrogen patches for menopause, etc. The use of foam for other medical purposes such as wound dressings or biomedical electrodes is also growing because baby boomers are maturing and the medical device market is growing as a result.”