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The effect of disinfection methods on the mechanical properties of thermoplastic recyclates

: Bohlmann, B.; Hirth, T.; Grellmann, W.; Langer, B.


Macromolecular materials and engineering 290 (2005), Nr.12, S.1176-1183
ISSN: 1438-7492
ISSN: 1439-2054
Fraunhofer ICT ()

Increasing environmental concern encourages the development of new ways to recycle medical products. Post-consumer medical products are suited for recycling because of their life-span, but used products have to be disinfected before recycling. Therefore, the influence of different disinfection processes during recycling on the processibility and the mechanical properties of thermoplastics was investigated. As disinfection processes, steam disinfection and disinfection with electron beam and gamma radiation were selected. The characterisation of the properties of disinfected recyclates was undertaken for PE and PP from syringes. The melt mass-flow rate (MFR), the dynamic mechanical properties, the tensile properties and fracture mechanics parameters were examined. A comparison of the results showed that stiffness and strength remain nearly constant, but the deformation and fracture behaviour tends to be influenced. The selection of appropriate disinfection parameters can avoid unnecessary alteration of the properties. Thus, steam disinfection as well as radiation disinfection up to a dose of about 25 kGy are suited for decontaminating used medical products.