All About Plastics - PEEK

All About Plastics - PEEK

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What is PEEK?

Polyether Ether Ketone (commonly known as PEEK) is a member of the High Performance Plastics family, commonly used in components functioning in high temperature and experiencing high mechanical loads. It's a premium-use engineering plastic used only when other thermoplastics won't do, because of it's high price and some complex manufacturing requirements.

Natural PEEK has a distinctive oatmeal or tan color. Due to the chemical temperature resistance of the material, it can be difficult to add dyes or other additives without compromising datasheet performance.

PEEK is commonly associated with Victrex, the company that patented and synthesized the polymer in the 1980s. Another major brand name for PEEK is Solvay's KetaSpire.

If you want to see how we can produce PEEK prototypes in 24 hours, visit our Showcases.

From CAD to PEEK parts in 24 hours

When to use PEEK?

Base PEEK with no additives already has a pretty impressive spec-sheet. If it weren't for the cost and extra effort in manufacturing, it could be considered an ideal-use plastic.

Material Properties for PEEK:
Glass temperature: 143°C
Melting point: 343°C
Thermal conductivity: 0.25 W/(m.K)
Young's Modulus: 3.6 GPa
Tensile strength: 90-100 MPa
Elongation at break: 50%
Density: 1320 kg/m^3

Although PEEK already has some of the highest mechanical properties found in thermoplastics, you can still go one further. PEEK reinforced with glass or carbon fibers can achieve considerably higher stiffness with very little modification to the existing manufacturing process.

Biocompatibility Wear resistance and durability High temperature endurance

When not to use PEEK?

Difficult to work with High processing temperature

Extremely difficult to clean up As PEEK is largely inert to solvents,

PEEK vs 3D Printing

Prices for PEEK filaments range from 495 CHF/kg to 670 CHF/kg, so it's no wonder the subject of 3D printing in PEEK has yet to be fully explored.

Compared with raw pellets, PEEK can be sourced at about 10-80 CHF/kg, with glass fiber or carbon fiber reinforced feedstock around 100-200 CHF/kg.

PEEK is often printed at 375 - 410°C with a print bed temperature of 130 - 150°C making it unsuitable for many 3D printers. Only specially selected extruders are capable of handling such high temperatures, as even PTFE components and thermistors cannot be used at these temperatures, and nearby components such as wiring and fans can melt or soften from the ambient temperature.

PEEK vs CNC Machining

PEEK machines well

This is the one time where machining waste adds up in cost

Injex' Injection Molding as a Rapid Prototyping Service

  • Surface Quality
  • Fast

// Glass Fiber Reinforced Austrian company that makes fans with GFR PEEK to reduce impeller creep

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