Medical Gloves

PVC based medical gloves and formulations therefor

Abstract
A new formulation for making a polyvinyl chloride (PVC, usually referred as vinyl in glove industry) glove has been disclosed in this invention. The resulting glove shows the following superior barrier integrity characteristics by comparing with current vinyl gloves in the market: Much lower in use failure rate Improved puncture strength and tensile strength Better chemical resistance The invention provides formulations to make compounds and methods to make such gloves. The new formulations and procedures could be easily realized economically under common vinyl glove production lines. Depending on the desired applications, both powdered and powder free gloves could be produced in the same formula.

Claims
We claim:

1. A glove, said glove made from polyvinyl chloride combined with a polyester plasticizer.

2. The glove of claim 1, wherein said polyester plasticizer is based on dicarboxylic acids and poly hydric alcohols.

3. The glove of claim 1, further comprising a cross-linking agent.

4. The glove of claim 3, wherein said cross-linking agent is 2,5-dimethyl-2,5-di(t-butylperoxy)hexane.

5. The glove of claim 2, further comprising a cross-linking agent.

6. 4. The glove of claim 5, wherein said cross-linking agent is 2,5-dimethyl-2,5-di(t-butylperoxy)hexane.

7. A material, said material made from polyvinyl chloride combined with a polyester plasticizer.

8. The material of claim 7, wherein said polyester plasticizer is based on dicarboxylic acids and poly hydric alcohols.

9. The material of claim 7, further comprising a cross-linking agent.

10. The material of claim 9, wherein said cross-linking agent is 2,5-dimethyl-2,5-di(t-butylperoxy)hexane.

11. The material of claim 8, further comprising a cross-linking agent.

12. The material of claim 11, wherein said cross-linking agent is 2,5-dimethyl-2,5-di(t-butylperoxy)hexane.

13. A glove, said glove made from polyvinyl chloride combined with a nontoxic plasticizer and a cross-linking agent.

14. The glove of claim 13, wherein said nontoxic plasticizer is based on dicarboxylic acids and poly hydric alcohols.

15. The glove of claim 13, wherein said cross-linking agent is 2,5-dimethyl-2,5-di(t-butylperoxy)hexane.

Medical Supplies Patent

Description
[0001] The instant application is based on U.S. Provisional patent application Ser. No. 10/422,509, filed Oct. 31, 2002.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The art of making PVC gloves was well established a long time ago. Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) and PVC containing copolymers, such as vinyl chloride-vinyl acetate copolymer, can be conventionally dipped with certain plasticizers.

[0003] Historically, due to its poor barrier integrity (low puncture strength and low tensile strength) and the fact that they are very uncomfortable to wear in comparison with natural and synthetic rubber latex gloves, their applications have been very limited. As a matter of fact, PVC gloves are not generally recommended for medical applications.

[0004] However, recently, driven by their low cost and the advantage of being free of proteins (that could cause Type I allergy) and being free of chemicals used for conventional rubber sulfur vulcanization (that could cause Type IV sensitivity), the volume of vinyl gloves has been increasing steadily, although mainly in low end applications.

[0005] Another shortcoming of vinyl gloves has emerged, "in use failure". It is reported that the "in use" failure rate can be as alarmingly high as 60%. In other words, it simply does not provide the function, hand protection to wearers, that it is designed to provide.

[0006] One family of commonly used plasticizers, in PVC products as well as in other gloves, is dialkyl phthalate. They can be toxic and can be extracted by cooking oils, hence they have been banned in food handling in some countries and several states in the USA. Even without such oil contact, they can migrate out of glove matrix to result in brittle gloves.

[0007] It is an object of the invention to provide gloves made from PVC that are suitable for medical applications.

[0008] It is another object of the invention to provide gloves made from PVC having improved barrier qualities.

[0009] It is still another object of the invention to provide gloves made from PVC that are comfortable to wear.

[0010] It is yet another object of the invention to use a plasticizer that is polymeric, so that it is more difficult to migrate out of the glove matrix.

[0011] It is another object of the invention to use a crosslinking agent

[0012] These and other objects will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art after reading the disclosure of the invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] This invention describes methods and formulations to make PVC gloves with improved barrier integrity and comfort to wear so that the wearers can have peace of mind. The gloves produced in this invention showed substantial improvement in tensile strength, puncture strength, chemical resistance, and "in use" failure. To achieve this, a crosslinking agent, which is commonly used for rubbery materials, whereas not generally necessary for plastic materials, is employed. This invention will use a safer polymeric plasticizer and abandon the unfavorable dialkyl phthalate.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION

[0014] Compounding:

[0015] Materials commonly used for glove making are polymers with long chain molecules, natural, or synthetic. They are also referred as plastics or rubbers. Usually the plastics are rigid, whereas rubbers are elastic. This property is mainly defined by polymer chain structure. The key characteristic to distinguish material behaviors is called glass transition temperature. Above the glass transition temperature, materials tend to behave with rubbery properties, i.e., elastic. Below glass transition temperature, materials are plastic like. In general, a material that has a glass transition temperature below room temperature, is called rubber. If its glass transition temperature is above room temperature, it is called plastic.

[0016] Temperature is one variable to change materials from plastic states to rubbery states. Adding a plasticizer is another. Polymeric plasticizers have very low glass transition temperatures. Ordinary plasticizers are small molecule organic liquids. After addition of plasticizers, the blend would exhibit a much lower glass transition temperature. In other words, a plastic becomes softer. That's how a thin film vinyl glove is made.

[0017] Because of aforementioned difference, vital differences are seen due to material processing and compounding. Rubbery materials have no mechanical strength and they have not much use at all at room temperature. They are just gums. Hence, they must be vulcanized. On the other hand, plastic materials exhibit certain mechanical strength without crosslinking. They don't have to be crosslinked.

[0018] As the result, rubbery materials show much better barrier properties. To break through, one has to break the chemical bonds, which is difficult. That's why it is relatively easy to break through plastic films for there is no chemical bond between polymer chains. To overcome this, we introduced a crosslinking agent, so that chemical bonds can bridge polymer chains like the vulcanization of rubbers.

[0019] The formulas are as follows:

1TABLE 1 Conventional PVC Glove Ingredients PHR Polyvinyl chloride 100 Di (2-ethyl hexyl) Phthalate 100

[0020]

2TABLE 2 PVC Glove of the Invention Ingredients PHR Polyvinyl chloride 100 Polyester based on dicarboxylic 100 acids and polyhydric alcohols 2,5-dimethyl-2,5-di 4 (t-butylperoxy) hexane

[0021] Mechanical Properties:

[0022] Films obtained from the above formula and vulcanization conditions show following characteristics:

3 Ultimate Telsile Rupture Puncture After Use Elongation Strength Resistance Strength Failure Description (%) (MPa) (N/mm) (N) (%) Average of 389 13.19 171 2.95 50 Conventional PVC Uncrosslinked 368 15.46 217 2.29 28 PVC Control Crosslinked 353 18.68 278 5.84 11 PVC

[0023] Clearly, we have observed remarkable improvement on tensile strength, rupture resistance, puncture strength, and after use failure.

[0024] While the invention was been described with reference to a preferred embodiment, variations and modification would be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention. The invention encompasses such modifications and variations and is defined by the appended claims.

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