Polyetheretherketone, or PEEK plastic or PEEK as it’s more commonly known, is one of the more versatile engineered thermoplastic materials used today. Originally introduced in the 1980s, parts made using PEEK injection molding can be found in sophisticated applications in an array of industries such as nuclear, aerospace, and medical.
Like other thermoplastics, neat (unfilled) PEEK can be compounded into different grades to meet differing demands. Of the grades, naturally abrasion-resistant, unfilled, PEEK plastic provides wear and steam resistance and outstanding toughness. Reinforcing PEEK with fibers such as glass or carbon can add characteristics such as increased stiffness, greater stability, and greater thermal conductivity.
While one of the more expensive thermoplastics, injection molding PEEK resin is a favored choice as a metal replacement. This lightweight material’s most popular properties include:
During PEEK plastic injection molding, the material can be heated and reheated without significant degradation.
The wide range of industries using plastic injection molding, PEEK demonstrates the material’s popularity and usefulness, particularly as a metal replacement. Industries and segments within the industries choosing PEEK plastic for their injection molding needs include:
The highly stable chemical structure and the thermoplastic’s natural white to light brown state allow the material to be used in a myriad of applications that do not require extensive coloration or decorative finishing. Common applications include:
With a higher cost than most other thermoplastics used in plastic injection molding, the decision to use PEEK is a thoughtful one. Understanding the choices, benefits, costs, and the risks of each is critical to selecting the best material for each application.