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Non-thermal plasma sterilizer designed for bio-decontamination of medical devices

To design, build and confirm the efficiency of a medical sterilizer prototype device, which use a non-thermal plasma discharge glidarc type, for bio-decontamination of medical instruments in order to obtain a new product.

Cold plasma is more often used in recent years in various biomedical applications such as implants treatment to ensure the biocompatibility, treatment of materials used in medicine, treating living tissues and chronic wounds. A practical and very important application of this kind of devices, demanded by the market is the sterilization. This method is preferred due to it`s efficiency in the bacterial neutralization for reusable medical instruments which does not allows the classical sterilization methods, and also for facile adaptability of the non-thermal plasma reactors for narrow spaces. Nowadays the non-thermal plasma devices which can be used successfully for this types of processes are still developing and substantial results are expected. The plasma devices designed for decontamination have the main advantage of not being limited only for the hospital environment. They also can be used in food industry or even in small chambers which requires a specific hygiene regime (offices, nurseries, kindergarten etc.) This efficient treatment for micro-organism neutralization can develop new methods in order to solve typical problems in medicine. The positive results obtained in the neutralization of bacteria, viruses, fungi are suggesting that the non-thermal plasma electrochemical reactors have a high capacity of bio-decontamination. A major cause of human infestation with different diseases is the use of surgical instrument which are improperly sterilized, due to the incapacity of a complete sterilization of the small tridimensional object and also of the prions which are making the standard sterilization procedures unusable. These aspects emphasizes new challenges regarding the decontamination of the medical instruments made from plastic or from other thermosensitive materials. There are various confirmations in the specific literature regarding the bio-decontaminations treatments conducted in different laboratories using different non-thermal plasma devices. Into these papers is shown a reduction of the bacteriological population of up to 8 orders of magnitude for a treatment time of 5 up to 8 minutes. We intend to use a GlidArc reactor that utilizes a high voltage electrical discharge reactor to induce chemical reactions. The specific type of electrical discharge is produced using a high voltage power supply delivering energy to two or more curved and thin metal electrodes placed a few millimeters apart. A high velocity gas stream, in combination with a water molecules, is injected through a feed nozzle into the plasma zone produced by the electrical discharge. This type of discharge is called a gliding arc since the high velocity gas stream causes the transient electric arcs formed between the electrodes to move rapidly, or glide, along the electrodes and to dissipate downstream of the electrode set, thereby preventing the formation of a continuous arc between the electrodes leading to large thermal losses and excessive heating and degradation of the electrodes. The increasing and control of the power of the electrical discharge, can be achieved by using an innovative device developed by our research team, which provides high voltage/low power pulses to two auxiliary electrodes placed at the minimum distance between the main electrodes.
Acronym: 
NTPSBMD
Project ID: 
8 729
Start date: 
02-09-2013
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
270 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Erosion, Removal (spark erosion, flame cutting, laser/plasma cutting, electrochemical erosion,waterjet cutting)
Market Area: 
Surgical instrumentation and equipment

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