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Plastics & Elastomers
A Complete Guide on Polyetheretherketone (PEEK)

Popular Application of Polyetheretherketone (PEEK)

It is extensively used in demanding applications such as aerospace, automotive, electrical, medical etc. Because of its robustness, PEEK is used to fabricate items, including bearings, piston parts, pumps, HPLC columns, compressor plate valves, and cable insulation. Let’s discuss some of its applications in detail.

Overview

Key Applications

Automotive - With the growing trend of miniatured engine compartments, PEEK offers a solution to replace metals and offer weight reduction, noise reduction and functional integration.

The most important performance benefits of Polyetheretherketone are enhanced dry and lubricated surface interaction, outstanding mechanical performance over a wide temperature range, ease of processing and excellent fatigue properties. The main applications include:

  • Under-the-hood piston units
  • Seals
  • Washers
  • Bearings
  • Various active components used in transmission, braking and air-conditioning systems


Aerospace - PEEK polymers and its composites are replacing aluminum and other metals in several aircraft parts. Huge numbers of large volume components with fine tolerances can be cost-effectively formed and used without assembly or modification. In aerospace market, PEEK finds use in:

  • Critical engine parts as the polymer can withstand high temperatures and the tribological interaction of dry and lubricated material contacts
  • In aircraft exterior parts, PEEK provides excellent resistance to rain erosion
  • In interior components, its inherent flame retardancy and low smoke and toxic gas emission reduce hazard in the event of a fire
  • The polymer is used for manufacture of convoluted tubing to protect wires and fiber optic filaments for aircraft electrical systems


Medical and Healthcare - Polyetheretherketone provides cost-effective, innovative parts with excellent wear, heat, electrical and chemical resistance. Its applications in healthcare mainly consist of dental instruments, endoscopes and dialyzers

  • PEEK is replacing aluminum for the handles on dental syringes and sterile boxes that hold root canal files
  • The polymer can withstand up to 3,000 autoclave sterilization cycles in which temperatures typically reach 134°C
  • It maintains outstanding mechanical strength, excellent stress cracking resistance and hydrolytic stability in the presence of hot water, steam, solvents and chemicals
  • It offers improved biocompatibility of load bearing implants


Electrical / electronic - Polyetheretherketone possesses excellent electrical properties, which makes it an ideal electrical insulator.

  • PEEK provides parts with long-term operating reliability over widely fluctuating ranges of temperature, pressure and frequency
  • Its inherent purity, combined with excellent mechanical and chemical stability, minimize contamination and maximize safety during the handling of silicon wafers
  • Outstanding thermal properties enable PEEK polymer parts to withstand the elevated temperatures associated with soldering processes

Some interesting examples of current applications include coaxial connector jacks used in hands-free telephone kits, surface-mounted trimming potentiometers, which are electro-mechanical devices, known as SMDs, designed to correct voltage or resistance errors in printed circuit boards, and as insulators for connector pins on under-sea environment control equipment.


Other key markets:

  • PEEK polymers outperform metals and other materials in many components used in the industrial, chemical and processing industries.
  • PEEK polymers are now finding use in food contact applications, following approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.
  • PEEK is replacing stainless steel in impeller wheels for regenerative pumps. It provides a significant reduction in wear, reduced noise levels and more consistent running properties. 
  • Polyetheretherketone also offers increased application potential in pipe and hose couplings in modern connector technology. They can withstand exposure to pressures as high as 25,000 psi and to temperatures upto 260°C.


PEEK offers a solution to replace metals and offer weight reduction, noise reduction and functional integration in automotive applications
PEEK polymers and its composites are replacing aluminum and other metals in several aircraft parts
PEEK polymers are now finding use in food contact applications, following approval from the US Food and Drug Administration

Key Properties

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