Polyether ether ketone (PEEK) is a colorless organic thermoplastic polymer in the polyaryletherketone (PAEK) family, and has one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios within thermoplastics today. PEEK is semicrystalline, has a very high service temperature (up to 500° F), and is excellent f sists radiation and a wide range of solvents. or applications where thermal, chemical, and combustion properties are critical to performance. Equally, PEEK emits little smoke or toxic gas when exposed to flame. The material is tough, rigid and strong, and has excellent fatigue, stress-crack and creep resistance.
The processing conditions used to mold PEEK can influence its crystallinity and hence its mechanical properties. The material is available un-reinforced, or reinforced with materials such as glass-fiber or carbon-fiber. PEEK can be used as an alternative to materials such as aluminum, steel, glass, and other polymers.
Due to its resistance to hydrolysis, and very low moisture absorption, PEEK can withstand boiling water and superheated steam which are used in autoclave and sterilization equipment,.
Typical applications of PEEK include the automotive, marine, chemical process, nuclear, oil-well, electronics, medical and aerospace industries. In analytical applications, PEEK’s high burst pressure, purity, and chemical resistance ensure that PEEK tubing can stand up to the pressures of critical laboratory work, and not compromise results. In biomedical settings, PEEK can be subjected to sterilization procedures such as autoclaving and gamma irradiation.
PEEK is often used to fabricate items used in demanding applications such as bearings, piston parts, pumps, compressor plate valves, high-performance liquid chromatography columns, and electrical cable insulation. It is also one of the few plastics compatible with ultra-high vacuum applications.
PEEK is increasingly being used as advanced biomaterial for medical and dentistry implants. This trend is due to the excellent biocompatibility and desirable mechanical properties of PEEK, which has an elastic modulus comparable to cortical bone. Application formats include spinal fusion devices and reinforcing rods, implants compatible with high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), partial skull replacement in neurosurgical applications.