Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) is a semi-crystalline high-performance engineering thermoplastic. This rigid, opaque (gray) material has a unique combination of mechanical properties, chemical resistance, wear resistance, fatigue resistance, creep resistance, and a high heat resistance of up to 260°C (480°F).
This polymer belongs to the family of polyetherketone polymers (PEK, PEEK, PEEKK, PEKK, PEKEKK), with PEEK being the most widely used and produced. PEEK has a high melting point (Tm) of 341°C, a high glass transition (Tg) temperature of 143°C, and a high continuous working temperature of up to 260°C. PEEK can be processed using conventional methods such as injection molding, extrusion molding, and compression molding. Due to these characteristics, PEEK and its composite materials are widely used in aerospace, automotive, structural, high-temperature electrical, and biomedical applications.
Despite the high cost of the polymer, the added value provided by the ability to manufacture parts includes the advantages of being lightweight, strong, or tough, and capable of surviving longer in harsh environments. PEEK is a fully recyclable plastic. Since the early 1980s, PEEK has been commercialized by ICI.
PEEK has excellent tensile strength properties. When reinforced with carbon fiber, it can reach a tensile strength of 29,000 psi and maintain excellent performance at 299°C;
The polymer also exhibits excellent creep resistance. When combined with bending and tensile properties, it provides excellent performance balance, suitable for situations where materials need to withstand high loads at high temperatures for a long time without permanent deformation;
Its bending modulus at very high temperatures can be further enhanced by glass or carbon reinforcement. (Reinforcing materials can also improve the polymer's creep resistance, fatigue resistance, thermal conductivity, and heat distortion temperature);
The polymer exhibits high volume resistance and surface resistance. It can maintain good insulation performance in a wide range of temperature and environmental changes;
PEEK has a low V0 flammability rating of up to 1.45 mm, with an LOI of 35%. Its smoke and toxic gas production are extremely low. The crystallinity imparts excellent resistance to a wide range of liquids and outstanding fatigue resistance;
PEEK is insoluble in all common solvents. It does not hydrolyze and can be used for thousands of hours in steam or high-pressure water without a significant decrease in performance;
Other characteristics of PEEK include low friction, good dimensional stability, exceptional insulation performance, excellent high-temperature sterilization resistance, biocompatibility, longevity, and inherent purity.