Fluorinated biomaterials have interesting properties attractive for their application in several biomaterials and biotechnology niches. Biomedical grade solids and liquids are commercially available.
These biomaterials are central to vascular grafts and hemodialysis access, hernia repair, and medical tubing essential to catheters. Intrinsically expensive materials, fluoropolymers have been recognized for their chemical stability and unique interfacial properties with biological fluids and cellular components.
Contrary to general perception, while chemically robust, perfluorinated materials, coatings and films are not bio-intert: they interact strongly with biological milieu including proteins, creating adherent protein layers that govern further biomaterials performance in vitro and in vivo. This protein-adsorptive property is exploited in biotechnology blotting membranes and in pre-clotted cardiovascular implants.
Perfluoropolymers have difficult processing challenges (and considerable expense), but unique specialized fabrication methods exploit qualities in certain fluorinated materials, including bulk mechanical processing for creation of microporous perfluoropolymer meshes and fabrics, and high-precision size-tolerance in making fluorinated medical tubing and multi-lumen catheters.
Perfluorofluids have limited volatility, high density, high gas solubility, insolubility with aqueous milieu and emulsified stability, and low toxicity in human tissue, attractive for imaging and oxygen/drug delivery capacities.
Fluorinated solids are not generally mechanically useful because of their tendency to cold flow under shear stress. However, perfluorinated coatings and thin films can be used judiciously to modify substrates to provide perfluoro-chemistry benefits on surfaces while retaining bulk properties through surface modification and minimizing the expense of exotic perfluorinated materials.
The Grainger group has produced new approaches, chemistries, and analytical methods for use of perfluorinated thin films and coatings.