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New PEEK material takes performance to another level

New PEEK material takes performance to another level
Solvay introduces KetaSpire PEEK XT, said to be the industry’s first true high-temperature PEEK; it offers the chemical resistance of standard PEEK with significantly higher strength and stiffness at elevated temperatures.

Solvay’s KetaSpire polyetheretherketone (PEEK) XT reportedly delivers the exceptional chemical resistance of PEEK along with a 20°C (36°F) higher glass transition temperature and a 45°C (81°F) higher melting temperature than standard PEEK. Although other high-temperature polyketones exhibit thermal properties on par with KetaSpire PEEK XT, their chemical resistance is said to be significantly inferior to PEEK and KetaSpire PEEK XT. Potential applications include the oil and gas industry and wire and cable connectors in fast charge electric vehicles where an elevated temperature resistance is desirable. Electrical/electronics are wire coatings also represent potential usages of the material.

Solvay’s Brademeyer introduce high temperature PEEK XT at a technical seminar at the recent K Show in Germany

“We were able to boost thermal and mechanical performance while maintaining PEEK’s ether-to-ketone ratio, which accounts for the polymer’s superior chemical resistance,” said Doug Brademeyer, ultra-polymers business manager for Solvay’s Specialty Polymers global business unit. “And although the new polymer will be more than expensive than conventional PEEK, its cost will be lower than current alternatives to high temperature PEEK.

A true PEEK polymer has a 2:1 ether-to-ketone ratio. All other high-temperature polyketones, which include polyetherketone (PEK), polyetherketone ketone (PEKK), and polyetherketone etherketone ketone (PEKEKK), alter this ratio and therefore are not true PEEK polymers. 

Solvay’s new KetaSpire PEEK XT polymer has a glass transition temperature of 170°C (338°F) and processes like standard PEEK at a 20°C (36°F) higher melt temperature. In contrast, PEK and standard PEEK typically exhibit glass transition temperatures of 160–165°C.

The material exhibits significantly higher strength and stiffness at elevated temperatures versus standard PEEK, with a 400 percent higher tensile modulus and nearly 50 percent higher tensile strength at 160°C (320°F).

In addition, KetaSpire PEEK XT shows an extraordinary improvement in electrical properties at 250°C (482°F) vs. standard PEEK, increasing dielectric strength by 50 percent and volume resistivity by an order of magnitude.

KetaSpire PEEK XT is available globally in neat, 30 percent glass fiber, and 30 percent carbon fiber reinforced injection molding and extrusion grades, as well as in fine powder form for compression molding and as coarse powder for compounding. All resins exhibit superior processing, melt stability and high-temperature chemical resistance compared to PEK, PEKEKK and PEKK. Industries of interest for this new material include oil & gas, electrical/electronics, wire coatings, and automotive..

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