Why Thermoplastic PEEK is the Industry Leader
Thermoplastic PEEK is included in a variety of specific products and industries. Why is it so important? Read further to find all the details you should know.
PEEK is the common name for Polyetheretherketone and refers to a semi-crystalline organic polymer. This type of thermoplastic is highly stable which makes it far superior to many other materials, when used in industries. PEEK is a member of the Polyaryletherketone polymer group and its unique combination of properties means that it is prevalent in the aerospace, food and pharmaceutical industries, amongst others. The chemical resistance properties of thermoplastic PEEK are especially useful where combustion and thermal performance is involved in the operational process.
Properties of PEEK
Industries can rely on PEEK to show high resistance when in a variety of chemical environments, and it can even be dissolved in concentrated nitric acid and sulphuric acid.
Three key properties of PEEK are:
1. Long life: PEEK is a hard polymer that is strong and stiff, which allows for good friction and durability.
2. Hydrolysis resistance: PEEK material does not show signs of degrading when exposed to high-pressure water or steam.
3. High-temperature resistance: Most conventional plastic will melt at a much lower temperature than PEEK.
Thermoplastic PEEK is one of the leading materials used throughout the world, but only when it is used correctly. PEEK is 100% recyclable and, as mentioned above, it can withstand very high temperatures of 343 degrees Celsius until it begins to melt. This material far outperforms other materials in its ability to resist exposure to strong chemicals. It is very durable, suffering from little in the form of wear and tear. PEEK thermoplastic is also great at resisting moisture levels and excels when it comes to insulation.
Flammability is a common worry when it comes to choosing suitable materials to woe with but PEEK is naturally flame resistant. Your concerns about health and safety can be eased when PEEK is used in your industry.
Characteristics of PEEK
Other key characteristics of PEEK include strong radiation resistance and relatively few gas and smoke emissions, so you can earn brownie points when it comes to being environmentally responsible. The versatility of PEEK means that it can be used for injection molding, stock shape machining, and extrusion among many other processes.
Grades of PEEK
There are many different grades of thermoplastic PEEK available, depending on industry specifications. The main grades of PEEK are:
- PEEK, Unfilled
Unfilled PEEK is not reinforced and is good for steam resistance. It has a good level of wear and tear and is the toughest of all PEEK grades. If you need to use PEEK in products that are visible, this is the most aesthetically pleasing.
- PEEK, 30% Glass-Fiber Reinforced
This grade of PEEK is ideal for structural applications that need to be strong and stiff and that can withstand very high temperatures (up to 300 degrees).
- PEEK, 30% Carbon-Fiber Reinforced
Carbon fibers enhance the strength and stiffness of thermoplastic PEEK and help to lower the expansion rate. This grade of PEEK is used in thermal conductivity equipment and has a long life.
- PEEK, Bearing Grade
This grade of PEEK is the best for lubricants and graphite and it has the lowest friction. As friction rates are low, this grade is often used in easy machining and any aggressive service bearings.
It is always wise to ask a professional manufacturer what grade of PEEK is best for your business, as choosing the wrong grade can severely affect your operations.
The standard size and forms tend to be:
- Sheet: .250” – 4” thick
- Rod: .250” – 6” diameter
- Tubular Bar: 2.00” – 10.125” OD x 1.25” – 8.25” ID
Industries that Use Peek
PEEK is very popular in the aerospace industry, as it is the perfect material for string exterior parts of a plane. PEEK can withstand extreme weather conditions and does not corrode easily. PEEK will also be able to withstand the high temperatures that the plane is subject to.
Biodiesel fuel filters: Biodiesel has long been thought to be a great alternative source of energy, but it does degrade standard filters, which is why the stronger PEEK is the preferred choice.
Membrane spacer-battery: The spacer-battery separates different layers of battery and PEEK is the material of choice due to its thickness and lightweight properties.
Implant Material: PEEK is very flexible and can be very durable, even under distress so it can be used in skin grafts and soft tissue surgery as it is not harmful to the body.
Dialysis pump filter: When PEEK is used in dialysis, users can limit the chances of moisture affecting the operation of the machine, and they can rest assured that this material will not be affected by extremely cold or hot temperatures.
Food and Beverage
Food drying: Including dehydration to make powders and granules, which requires high temperatures, low contamination, and accurate shrinkage levels.
Feed drying: PEEK is very common in the pet food industry that uses a lot of drying out processes when producing products using very high temperatures.
Chemical and Pharmaceutical
Pharmaceutical products: Medical equipment has to be cleaned at very high temperatures, usually up to 150°C, that many plastics such as PA and PET, cannot sustain. PEEK is also resistant to bacteria, which means that there is less chance of contamination.
Vacuum belt filters: Vacuum belt filtration is carried out to dry out and de-water chemicals and when PEEK is used in the filter, they are much more durable.
Thermoplastic PEEK is Versatile
Industry specialists agree that PEEK is one of the highest performing chemicals, as it’s very versatile. If the industry that you work in requires high strength and low specific gravity, PEEK is the ideal option.
When choosing thermoplastic plates and other components of a valve part, it is always good to research the industry and read reviews from manufacturers to see which material is the right choice for you. It would also be a wise decision to purchase a reputable manufacturer, which has had many referrals, as a result of the quality they provide. That being said, it is difficult to ignore the advantages of thermoplastic PEEK.
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