When it comes to applications that require high-performance thermoplastic, PEEK (polyetheretherketone) is often a top recommendation. PEEK material properties make it a popular choice suitable for use in a wide array of critical industries.
PEEK balances excellent physical properties with one of the highest levels of heat resistance and mechanical strength available among plastics. It is also one of the best choices when looking for good chemical as well as radiation resistance.
PEEK is a revolutionary polymer offering the possibility of manufacturing parts that are lighter, stronger, and can survive longer under harsh conditions. Slightly on the expensive end, this high-performance engineering plastic is a unique semi-crystalline material that offers excellent chemical compatibility and value for money. Let’s look at some properties of PEEK as a material to truly understand why it stands out.
Useful Properties of PEEK
High Heat Resistance and Heat Stability — PEEK is one of the best heat-resistant materials among high-performance plastics. Even when used at 260°C for 5000 hours, the strength is intact and shows the utmost thermal stability. With a melting point of around 341°C (646°F), PEEK has a long lifetime in the harshest environments.
Excellent Mechanical Properties — PEEK has some of the best mechanical strength characteristics available among high-performance engineering plastics, including tensile strength (90MPa or more), high modulus of elasticity, greater hardness, shock resistance, and creep resistance
Outstanding Chemical Resistance — With excellent resistance to various organic solvents, oils, weak acids, and alkalis, PEEK can maintain strength over a wider temperature range and concentrations without discoloring, expanding, or breaking.
Superior Wear Resistance and Sliding Properties — PEEK outperforms conventional materials (POM, PA / Nylon, etc.), and because of these excellent sliding characteristics, it is used in gears, bearings, sliding bearings, and many other applications.
Excellent Dimensional Stability — This makes PEEK ideal for high-precision parts. It resists loads over longer periods due to high stiffness and creep resistance.
Great Radiation Resistance — Due to its chemically stable molecular structure, PEEK has the highest level of radiation resistance among thermoplastics. Even high-dose gamma rays can be used without embrittlement or degradation, leading to cracking. As a result, it can be used for a long lifetime, reducing maintenance costs.
High Purity and Low Outgassing — PEEK is a highly pure material with very low volatile organic compound (VOC) content and low outgassing. In addition, its low water absorption property of 0.03% enables outgassing in a vacuum environment like Aerospace. The metal ion contamination is very low, making it an excellent choice for the most stringent requirements.
Compliant with Many Industries — PEEK materials are able to comply with different industry standards, such as NORSOK M-710C and ISO 23936-1 for Oil and Gas, making it a viable choice across a broad spectrum.
PEEK Material Properties Mean Many Possible Applications
PEEK is often viewed as one of the high-performance thermoplastics that commands a high price, however, experienced users have come to realize the added value that PEEK materials bring by offering the possibility of manufacturing parts that are lighter, stronger, and able to survive longer under harsh conditions. This opens up PEEK as a popular option among many critical industries.
- Semiconductors: Used in insulators, connectors, and wafer carriers.
- Industrial Equipment: Used for gear wheels, sliding elements, compressor and pump components, drives, bushings, valves, and rollers.
- Oil and Gas: Used in drill heads, sealings, and sensors.
- Medical: Used in parts for surgical instruments and short-term implants.
- Food: Used in valves, blenders, strippers, dosing systems, and kneaders.
- Aerospace/Defense: Used to replace metal components and parts for greater or equal strength and resilience at a lighter weight.
Ensinger Specializes in TECAPEEK®
Ensinger works specifically with TECAPEEK, a branded PEEK material. Two popular TECAPEEK options among our high-performance thermoplastics include:
TECAPEEK IM Natural — This material has very good chemical resistance and is inherently flame-retardant with good heat deflection temperature. TECAPEEK IM natural is hydrolysis- and superheated-steam-resistant. It also has good machinability and slide-and-wear properties, making it suitable for the oil and gas industry, chemical technology, energy industry, and mechanical engineering applications.
TECAPEEK SM 450 SM 450GF — Manufactured from a proprietary process called the Dynamic Cast Molding System™ (DCMS™), this material is produced exclusively out of Victrex® PEEK compounds. The DCMS process offers a quick turnaround time compared to other manufacturing methods. TECAPEEK SM 450 SM 450GF has extremely high thermal and mechanical capabilities, due to which it sustains a very high continuous working temperature. It has increased stiffness and bearing properties with very high dimensional stability and exceptional chemical resistance.
Exacting Details are Often Required: Learn why achieving tight tolerances is critical for complex parts.
Work With Ensinger to Unlock the Benefits of PEEK Material Properties
For more than 80 years, Ensinger Precision Components has offered injection molding and plastic part manufacturing using a wide range of high-performance plastics to provide customers with optimal solutions to their design and manufacturing challenges.
Ensinger has the expertise to work with high-end or specialty materials that others may find difficult, such as Torlon. There are less than 100 companies around the world that can properly convert it using injection, compression, or extrusion processes. Torlon® PAI resin requires special considerations for successful molding, and every step of the process must be exact. Ensinger, demonstrating the necessary knowledge of the material and the capacity to mold and cure it properly, has met those required standards.
Beyond offering injection molding services for high-performance and engineering thermoplastic components and stock shapes, Ensinger Precision Components also provides essential finishing capabilities and value-adding secondary operations while adhering to strict quality control standards.