From Medicine to Automotive, Cyclic Olefin Copolymers are Changing the Game Across Numerous End-User Industries
Cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) is a thermoplastic material that has been widely used in the manufacturing industry due to its unique properties, such as high transparency, chemical resistance, and low water absorption. It is a copolymer of cyclic olefins that possesses both the advantages of olefins and cyclic monomers. Because of its exclusive properties, COC is used across various industries including pharmaceutical, medical, automotive, and many others for a wide range of applications.
In recent years, cyclic olefin copolymers, a versatile material, have been used for a wide range of applications including packaging, medical devices, and optical films. Recently, TekniPlex, a leading provider of innovative solutions through materials science and manufacturing technologies introduced a fully transparent and recyclable diagnostic film by using cyclic olefin copolymer. This cleanroom production is expected to act as a differentiator in the healthcare space.
Moreover, according to a report published by Research Dive, the growing applications of cyclic olefin copolymer in the medical industry are expected to augment the growth of the global cyclic olefin copolymer market in the approaching years. The market is predicted to generate a revenue of $1,410.0 million and rise at a CAGR of 5.5% throughout the estimated period from 2022 to 2031. The major players of the market include Borealis Group, MITSUI & CO., Ltd, Zeon Corporation, JSR Corporation, and many more.
In the past few years, researchers have been focusing on improving the properties of cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) to expand its applications. Some of the recent developments in COC are discussed below:
- Improved Thermal Properties: COC has low melting and glass transition temperatures, which limit its applications in high-temperature environments. Researchers have developed COC with improved thermal properties by introducing cross-linking agents and reinforcing fillers such as nano clay. This has made COC suitable for applications such as automotive parts and electronic components.
- Enhanced Gas Barrier Properties: COC has a relatively low gas barrier compared to other materials such as PET and PVC. Researchers have been working on enhancing the gas barrier properties of COC by introducing various additives such as nanoparticles and surface coatings. This has made COC suitable for food packaging applications.
- Antibacterial Properties: Researchers have developed COC with antibacterial properties by introducing silver nanoparticles. This has made COC suitable for medical applications such as surgical instruments and implantable devices.
Due to its unique properties, COC has been used in various applications across several sectors. Some of the major applications are listed below:
- Packaging: COC is widely used in packaging applications due to its high transparency, low water absorption, and good chemical resistance. It is used in the packaging of food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. COC is also used in blister packaging and pouches.
For instance, Daikyo Crystal Zenith is a COC-based material that is used in the production of pharmaceutical packaging. It has a high barrier to oxygen, water vapor, and other gases and has good resistance to breakage and cracking.
- Medical Devices: COC is broadly used in the medical device industry due to its high biocompatibility and transparency. It is commonly used to manufacture syringes, inhalers, and diagnostic tools.
- Optical Films and Lenses: Because of its high transparency and low birefringence, COC is used in the manufacture of optical films and lenses. It is a high-quality material for optical applications, such as camera lenses, projection lenses, and microscope lenses. Moreover, COC offers long-term stability and durability.
- Microfluidics: COC is used in the manufacture of microfluidic devices due to its ability to be molded into complex structures and its transparency. Microfluidic devices are used in medical diagnostics, drug discovery, and chemical analysis. In addition, COC microfluidic devices are also biocompatible and can be sterilized which makes them a perfect material to be used in the medical industry.
- Automotive: In the automotive industry, COC can be used to manufacture various components such as fuel tanks, air intake systems, and headlamp lenses. COC’s high chemical resistance, low water absorption, and dimensional stability make it ideal for use in harsh environments.
- Consumer Goods: In this sector, COC is used to produce various consumer goods such as cosmetics packaging, sports equipment, and toys. The ability of COC to be molded into complex shapes makes it ideal for creating attractive and functional consumer products.
Cyclic Olefin Copolymer: A Beneficial Material with a Wide Range of Applications
Cyclic olefin copolymers are a versatile class of materials that offer a unique combination of properties such as high transparency, chemical resistance, and low protein binding. These characteristics make them ideal for a wide range of applications, including medical devices, optics, and electronics. With their growing popularity, COCs are becoming an increasingly important material for various applications, and in the coming years, it is expected that continuous research and development of COCs will meet the evolving needs of different applications.
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