What Materials are Used in Medical Injection Molding?

Updated: March 14, 2024


Medical injection molding plays a pivotal role in the production of precise and intricate components used in various medical devices. The choice of materials in this manufacturing process is critical, as medical-grade components must meet rigorous standards for biocompatibility, sterilization, and durability. In this article, we will explore the diverse range of materials commonly used in medical injection molding and their specific applications within the healthcare industry.

1. Medical-Grade Thermoplastics:

a. Polyethylene (PE): Polyethylene is a widely used thermoplastic in medical injection molding. It is known for its flexibility, chemical resistance, and ease of processing. PE is often used for components such as tubing, syringe barrels, and containers.

b. Polypropylene (PP): Polypropylene is valued for its high chemical resistance, thermal stability, and low cost. It is frequently employed in the manufacturing of components like specimen containers, closures, and trays.

c. Polycarbonate (PC): Polycarbonate offers excellent transparency, impact resistance, and biocompatibility. It is commonly used in medical injection molding for applications such as transparent housings, lenses, and components requiring high strength.

2. Engineering Plastics:

a. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET): PET is known for its clarity, strength, and resistance to moisture and chemicals. It is often used in medical injection molding for packaging applications, such as blister packs and rigid packaging for pharmaceuticals.

b. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): PVC is a versatile material with good chemical resistance. It is utilized in medical injection molding for applications like flexible tubing, blood bags, and IV components.

c. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS): ABS is valued for its strength, impact resistance, and ease of processing. In medical injection molding, ABS is employed for components such as housings, handles, and structural parts.

3. Biocompatible Polymers:

a. Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK): PEEK is a high-performance polymer known for its exceptional mechanical properties, biocompatibility, and resistance to harsh sterilization methods. It is commonly used in medical injection molding for implants, surgical instruments, and other critical components.

b. Polyurethane (PU): Polyurethane offers flexibility, biocompatibility, and resistance to abrasion. It is frequently used in medical injection molding for applications like catheters, tubing, and medical seals.

c. Polysulfone (PSU) and Polyetherimide (PEI): Both PSU and PEI are high-temperature, engineering thermoplastics with excellent chemical resistance and biocompatibility. They find applications in medical injection molding for components such as instrument housings and connectors.

4. Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR):

Liquid Silicone Rubber is a versatile material used in medical injection molding due to its biocompatibility, heat resistance, and flexibility. LSR is often chosen for applications requiring soft, elastic components, including seals, gaskets, and medical-grade silicone tubing.

5. Polyethylene Oxide (PEO):

Polyethylene Oxide is a water-soluble polymer used in medical injection molding for controlled-release drug delivery systems. Its solubility in bodily fluids makes it suitable for applications where controlled drug release over time is desired.

6. Metal Alloys:

In addition to polymers, certain medical injection molding applications involve metal alloys. Components such as orthopedic implants and dental prosthetics may be produced using metal injection molding techniques, where a metal powder is mixed with a polymer binder before being molded and then sintered to achieve the final metal part.

Considerations in Material Selection:


Biocompatibility is a critical factor in medical material selection. Materials must not elicit adverse reactions when in contact with living tissues or bodily fluids. Biocompatible polymers like PEEK and LSR are specifically designed to meet these stringent requirements.

Sterilization Compatibility:

Medical devices often require sterilization, and the chosen materials must withstand various sterilization methods, including autoclaving, gamma irradiation, and ethylene oxide (EO) sterilization.

Chemical Resistance:

Resistance to chemicals and bodily fluids is essential for medical components. Materials like PVC and PEEK are chosen for their ability to withstand exposure to various chemicals and bodily fluids.

Mechanical Properties:

The mechanical properties of materials, including strength, flexibility, and impact resistance, are crucial considerations. The choice of materials depends on the specific mechanical requirements of the medical device.

Transparency and Radiopacity:

Materials like PC are chosen for their transparency, allowing for visual inspection of fluids, while metal alloys may be preferred for their radiopacity in medical imaging applications.


In the realm of medical injection molding, material selection is a meticulous process guided by the specific requirements of each application. The diverse range of materials available, from medical-grade thermoplastics to biocompatible polymers and metal alloys, allows manufacturers to tailor their choices to meet the stringent standards of the healthcare industry.

As technology advances, the development of new materials and innovative formulations continues to expand the possibilities for medical injection molding, enabling the production of increasingly sophisticated and specialized medical components.



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