Polyether Ether Ketone
Polyether ether ketone: (PEEK) is a colorless organic thermoplastic polymer in the polyaryletherketone (PAEK) family, used in engineering applications. Polyether Ether Ketone known, as PEEK is a semi crystalline thermoplastic with high tensile strength, stiffness, good wear resistance, low coefficient of friction, excellent chemical resistance and very low moisture absorption. This broad range of useful properties in addition its ability to retain them over a long period under elevated temperature mechanical stresses and demanding environmental conditions make it a premium engineering plastic of choice for many applications.
The reinforcing effect of mineral filler for polymers has been recognized after 1930s. Since the last three decades, improving the mechanical, electrical, thermal, optical and processing properties of polymer with the addition of filler material has become a very popular research interest. Polymer science and technology seek new routes to improve the performance of filled plastic materials while reducing their costs.
Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) is a high performance semi crystalline polymer having outstanding thermal stability, wear resistance, mechanical properties, and excellent resistance to chemicals. It has high melting (Tm), glass transition (Tg) and continuous service temperature. It can be processed by conventional methods such as injection molding, extrusion, compression molding and powder coating techniques. Therefore, PEEK and its composites have been reported for use in aerospace, automotive, structural, high temperature wiring, tribology and biomedical applications.
Utilization of fly ash (FA) as an additive component in polymer composites has received increased attention recently, particularly for high volume applications for effective disposal of the material and reducing the overall cost of the composites. Fly ash is a waste material, obtained in huge quantities from thermal power plant as by-product of the burning of pulverized coal. It is a fine and powdery material. A microscopic view would reveal that the particles are essentially spherical. Fly ash has been used as spherical filler for the production of lightweight high strength concrete.
Mica is a plate like crystalline alumino-silicate and has been widely used as reinforcing filler in polymeric matrices due to its excellent mechanical electrical and thermal properties. The commercial delamination of mica may be characterized as wet or dry according to whether the delamination is carried out in a dry state or water. Wet grinding preserves the natural luster and sheen of mica and is normally characterized by clean cut edges, high aspect ratios, smooth surface, and ability to disperse easily.
Polyether Ether Ketone: Properties
PEEK is a high strength alternative to fluoropolymers especially in tough environments. Unreinforced PEEK offers the highest elongation and endurance of all PEEK grades. PEEK is also available as a composite or with carbon fiber reinforcement /fiberglass. However, PEEK is very expensive to process; hence it is widely used in major industries such as nuclear and aerospace.
PEEK has excellent dielectric properties with low loss, Good radiation resistance, solvent, wear and abrasion resistant, Low coefficient friction, low smoke and toxic gas emissions and Very low moisture absorption. Also it has Unaffected by continuous exposure to hot water or steam, excellent fatigue, stress-crack, oxidation and acid resistance, Thermal stability, very good mechanical properties, excellent UV resistance, high purity and light weight.
Polyether Ether Ketone: Recycling Process
PEEK is basically manufactured and used in low tonnages. It is also very expensive, thus making recycling a necessity. The use of thermosetting polymers is only increasing and it is now important to find ways to dispose or recycle them without it becoming a major global concern.
There are different recycling treatments available. Incineration process is a treatment with considerable non-combustible residues. Another treatment is thermolysis process which causes decomposition of products and mechanical weakening. Mechanical recycling techniques are based on granulation and comminution, which cause specific size fractions that can be incorporated into new sheet molding compounds (SMC) parts in a thermoplastic matrix, or in concrete. Solvolysis is a recovery method of composite wastes. Chemical recycling process is a proven and effective recycling method for plastics. Further research is ongoing and PEEK is not being recycled extensively at present.
Polyether Ether Ketone: Applications
PEEK is one of the few plastics that is compatible with ultra-high vacuum applications and is considered an advanced biomaterial used in medical implants.
Because of its robustness, PEEK is used to fabricate items used in demanding applications, including bearings, piston parts, pumps, compressor valves and cable insulation. PEEK is used extensively in the medical, aerospace, defence and automotive industries.
PEEK has widespread applications in a variety of fields such as oil and petroleum environments, electronics, nuclear, automotive, marine, medical, general industrial and aerospace. There are some other applications such as:
• Thermal plastic applications involving combustion, thermal and chemical operations.
• Chemical and hydrolysis resistant valves replacing glass
• Internal combustion engines replacing thermosets
• Cooker components replacing enamel
• Automotive components replacing metal
• High temperature and chemical resistant filters from fiber
• Low friction bearings
• Pressure sensor membranes, flexible surface heaters
• It is used as a biomaterial for spinal applications
• Flexible printed circuit boards, injection molded engineering components
• Products used in radiation environments
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