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"Surface energy" of biomaterials--meaning?

Miles Ehrlich mehrlich at pgh.auhs.edu
Wed Sep 2 02:52:51 EST 1998

Can someone explain to me the concept of "surface energy" (measured in
dynes/cm) on the surface of biomaterials? Also called surface "tension,"
I gather. I don't understand the idea of surface tension in a solid.
Apparently it's an important determinant, though, in whether bacteria
will adhere to a surface and begin to form a biofilm. Smith & Nephew Co.
is very hot on this subject in relation to their tympanostomy tubes (ear
ventilation tubes for children with ear infection) and contracts out to
Spire Co. in Bedford MA for ionization treatment of biomaterials
surfaces to get the desired anti-adhesion properties. (The treated
silicone is called Ultrasil, also apparently used for urinary catheters

Thanks very much in advance. If you can reply by e-mail as well as
posting to the group that helps; my institution's news system deletes
posts unpredictably.  :(

Miles Ehrlich
Scientific Writer
Center for Genomic Sciences
Allegheny University of the Health Sciences
4 Allegheny Center, Rm 735
Pittsburgh, PA 15212  USA
mehrlich at pgh.auhs.edu

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