When you think of miraculous inventions that occurred in the 20th century, you probably imagine radio, television, cars, computers, the polio vaccine, and the internet. But one of the most impressive accomplishments that occurred last century was the invention of a material called polyether ether ketone, also known as PEEK.
In this FAQ, we’ll explain what PEEK is, some of its key properties, and other helpful facts that you need to know about this fascinating material.
What is PEEK?
Polyether ether ketone is a thermoplastic substance that was created in 1978. Eventually, it came to market in the 1980s and has seen applications in industries as diverse as:
- Oil production
- Chemical production
- Food processing
- Material transport
- CNC production
- 3D printing
Due to its unique properties, such as coatability, toughness, and lack of reactivity, it has proved popular in countless fields.
What are the Key Properties of PEEK?
PEEK forms when specific kinds of potassium salts begin polymerization when heated to roughly 143°C (289°F). The thermoplastic polymer that results is colorless and has the following specific properties:
- Hardness. PEEK resists abrasions and scratching.
- Toughness. PEEK stands up to various forms of physical pressure and resists sloughing, particulation, creeping, and breaking.
- Uniformity. In its end state, PEEK shows a consistently smooth surface.
- Strong Resistance to Chemical, Radiological, Biological, and Aquatic Exposure. PEEK will not react to most kinds of exposure, excluding sulfuric acid and UV radiation.
- High Heat Resistance. PEEK outperforms virtually all other polymers at high temperatures.
How is PEEK Applied to Materials and Surfaces?
PEEK can be applied as a coating via the application of powdered or aqueous material. PEEK coatings are often applied to wires, liners, and a variety of industrial equipment.
What are the Heat and Chemical Resistances of PEEK?
PEEK is highly resistant to both heat and chemical exposure. It often continues to operate at temperatures up to 260 °C (500 °F) and resists degrading when exposed to the following:
- Water, humidity, and steam
- Common bases, salts, and hydrocarbons
- Biological materials
- Many forms of radiation (see the following section)
Are PEEK Coatings UV, Beta Ray, and X-ray Resistant?
PEEK provides excellent protection against many kinds of radiation, including gamma radiation, beta radiation, and X-rays. In fact, some PEEK formulations are designed to be detectable by X-rays, but not to degrade when exposed to them. However, a 2014 study published in the journal Polymer Degradation and Stability revealed that “PEEK, best known for its excellent thermal stability, suffered greatly from the effects of UV irradiation.”
What are the Physical Resistances of PEEK Coatings?
PEEK resists most forms of physical stress, including:
- Shearing or stress cutting
- Stress deformation
- General wear
Are PEEK Coatings Transparent? Can they be Other Colors?
In its natural state, PEEK coating is beige in color. PEEK coatings are available either in a beige or black color and can be easily pigmented to a variety of colors using commercially available color concentrates to support specific applications.
Orion Industries Provides PEEK Coating Solutions
For over six decades, we have shared our passion for innovative functional coatings and exceptional customer service. Our dedication to our customers is shown in the quality of our work and our strict adherence to timelines. Whatever your PEEK coating needs are, contact us today to speak with an Orion technical consultant.