Ball bearings play an important role in many scientific fields, and one of these fields include the medical industry. Let's take a look at some of the uses of ball bearings for medical applications in hospitals:
Ball bearings are used as metering devices for facilitating fluid flow in IV. In many cases, the purpose of connecting an IV drip to a patient is to provide them with certain fluids that cannot be ingested through the mouth. In such cases, simply connecting the drip is not enough, but a peristaltic pump must also be used to complete the circulation cycle from the IV bag into the patient. This pump makes use of ball bearings to keep the pumping motion smooth and steady.
The process of surgery is an incredibly complicated undertaking and requires the entire procedure to be as smooth as possible. This is why ball bearings find a great deal of use in various surgical branches. In addition to surgery machines, suturing devices make use of ball bearings, while many kinds of surgeries such as hip replacement surgery make use of ball bearings as part of the artificial hip to facilitate smooth movement.
Turbine hand-pieces are used for dental applications such as drilling and tooth operation. These are powerful machines that can cause great damage to the patient, and thus need to be handled with care. The bearings ensure the smooth turning of the rotor on its axis for as accurate a dental treatment as possible.
X-rays, MRIs, CAT scans and various other types of medical machines make use of ball bearings to reduce friction between the machining components and increase the speed of operation of the machine.
With advancements in robotics, more and more sophisticated forms of artificial limbs are being created that offer greater mobility to the patient than ever before. These limbs make use of several bearings which are used to perform smooth movements by the limbs as directed by the controlling actuators and motors.
Pumps, centrifuges and various other machines of a similar nature make use of ball bearings to fulfill their purpose in a hospital. These devices are responsible for the smooth performance of a range of activities, such as assisted breathing, supplying oxygen and pumping blood.
Naturally, bearing balls that are used in medicine must maintain a high standard of cleanliness in order to be used. Here are the ways in which bearing balls are cleaned in preparation for medical use:
1. The material used for making the bearings is known as medical stainless steel. This is a grade of steel which is noted for being highly corrosion resistant. In many cases, it is also important to ensure that the use of ball bearings for medical applications does not contain a nickel alloy which can produce a negative reaction in the patient's body.
2. The bearings are washed in a solution of water and detergent to remove visible and non-visible types of impurities.
3. For decontamination, the bearings are dipped in liquid chemicals which are responsible for killing off non-spore producing bacteria and other types of impurities that would be difficult to remove via simple detergent washing.
4. Finally, the bearings are sterilized to get rid of the last traces of harmful spores, bacteria and microorganisms through the use of irradiation, or steam/dry-heat sterilization.
Thus we see that while ball bearings for medical applications are often essential, the bearings need to be in an extremely clean state in order to be usable compared to other industries.
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