Magnet Sterilization

edited February 2015 in Magnets
Over and over I've been hearing stories regarding people going to body mod artists who then sterilize a magnet using an autoclave. This is NOT an appropriate method. It will decrease the strength of the magnet significantly. Furthermore, different materials expand and contract to a different degree under heat. Autoclaving will crack the biocoating for the majority of coating types available rendering the magnet unsafe for implant.

Unless you're purchasing a presterilized unit, chemical sterilization is the route to go. SFM has done a lot of work on this recently. We've tested methods for the Dangerous Things M31, Parylene C, and Silicone. Chemical sterilization IS NOT the same as disinfection or antisepsis. Furthermore, the most common agents such as sodium hypochlorite or hydrogen peroxide will dissolve metal. An M31 in either bleach or high concentration peroxide turns into a nasty black goo. So far, we've found the best results with Glutaraldehyde. I'm going to be writing up our results in the next AugLim post which should be out in a week.

Parylene C has so far held up well to the majority of the above chemicals but we didn't use very many samples and found a couple of duds... they had preexisting cracks. I'm not sure why this is so. SovereignBleak for example has had a Parylene C coated magnet in for years. I've had a V&P for at least 3 now with no problem. There may be serious differences in quality based on the place performing the coating.

Silicone bleaches white and has some changes in texture. I can't say how this would affect an implant overall, but I'd be concerned.

Like I said, I'll provide a lot more info in the post but I thought this important enough to get out into the forum now. 


  • How about UV sterilization followed by ethanol rinsing? This is usually enough to keep bugs out of tissue culture in the lab... Is this something you've tried?
  • edited November 2014
    Oh yeah, sorry I didn't preface this well. I'm talking about options for true chemical sterilization, but it's not something really being performed by pretty much anyone... Other options include the use of Quaternary agents or Chlorhexidine, but like EV and ethanol it is disinfection and not sterilization.

    High level disinfection w/sporocidal activity is adequate under most circumstances. Furthermore, bleach requires as little as 20 minutes of immersion before being cleansed in NS and does provide true sterilization. I noticed no layer degradation with bleach until after a few hours.

    Also RE: glutaraldehyde... yes, I've used the stuff. There are a number of major disadvantages. In terms of toxicity, it's like a very slightly nicer version of formaldehyde - pretty much all the acute problems with none of the long term subacute problems like cancer. It's also pricy, and once activated has a shelf life of less than 28 days. Totally going to discuss this stuff in the post. Dokclaw sent me a copy of the MSDS. I am familiar with this info and it really is nasty stuff. I'm not saying go buy it and use it. I'm discussing results.

    Yes, I said chemical sterilization is the way to go. What I mean is that if you choose to sterilize, that chemical is the best route with some exceptions.
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