KetaSpire® PEEK

Outperforms the Competition

KetaSpire® PEEK (polyetheretherketone) offers the best combination of fatigue resistance and chemical resistance, which is similar to PPS (polyphenylene sulfide). However, PEEK can operate at higher temperatures and retains its excellent mechanical properties at continuous-use temperatures up to 240 °C (464 °F), allowing it to replace metal in severe end-use environments. Glass fiber-reinforced and carbon fiber-reinforced grades provide a wide range of performance options.

Not All PEEK is Created Equal

Not all commercial PEEK products deliver the same level of performance. KetaSpire® PEEK offers distinct performance advantages due to Solvay’s newer polymer production technology. Depending on the grade, KetaSpire® PEEK offers

  • Better fatigue resistance
  • 20% higher impact strength
  • 60% higher ductility

    KetaSpire® Product Line

    Solvay’s KetaSpire® PEEK product line includes:

    • Neat grades (lubricated and non-lubricated)
    • Glass fiber and carbon fiber reinforced grades (low and high melt flow)
    • Wear resistant SL grades (lubricated and non-lubricated)
    • Natural-colored powders (coarse, fine, super-fine and ultra-fine)

    Comparson of neat and modified grades

    Ultra-Polymers_PEEK-comparison-Neat-CF-GF-FW

    Glass fiber and carbon fiber reinforced KetaSpire® PEEK grades deliver the greater mechanical robustness required for demanding structural applications.

    Torsional DMA of neat and fiber reinforced KetaSpire® PEEK

    CurveData_Torsiona-DMA_PEEK

    Wear Resistance

    Wear properties are enhanced by adding carbon fiber and polymeric lubricants such as PTFE. Torlon® PAI offers the best high-temperature wear resistance.

    Torsional DMA of wear-resistant Spire® Ultra Polymers

    CurveData_Torsional-DMA_PEEK-PAEK-PAI 

    Comparison of friction and wear grades

    Ultra-Polymers_Friction-wear-comparison

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is KetaSpire® PEEK?

    PEEK is the acronym for polyetheretherketone, and it is considered one of the highest performing semi-crystalline thermoplastics commercially available. PEEK can operate at continuous-use temperatures up to 240°C (464°F), allowing it to replace metal even in the most severe end-use environments. Key properties of PEEK are:

    • High mechanical strength at continuous-use temperatures up to 240°C (464°F)
    • Excellent wear and abrasion resistance
    • Best-in-class fatigue resistance
    • Exceptional chemical resistance
    • Excellent resistance to hydrolysis in boiling water and superheated steam
    • Low moisture absorption ensuring high dimensional stability
    • Superior dielectric properties with low loss at high temperatures and frequencies
    • Ease of melt processing

    More information: KetaSpire® PEEK Design Guide

    Is KetaSpire® PEEK different from other commercial PEEK?

    Not all commercial PEEK products deliver the same level of performance. KetaSpire® PEEK offers distinct performance advantages due to Solvay’s newer polymer production technology. Depending on the grade, KetaSpire® PEEK offers up to 20% higher impact strength, up to 60% higher ductility and better fatigue resistance. KetaSpire® PEEK also offers higher purity and brighter natural colored compounds.

    Where is KetaSpire® PEEK produced?

    KetaSpire® PEEK base resins are produced in Solvay’s facility in Panoli, India, which uses state-of-the-art manufacturing technology. High quality and high reliability of the resins are well-established in numerous markets. Solvay is currently building a new specialty polymers resin unit in the United States, significantly expanding its production capacity of PEEK and solidifying itself as a leader in the industry by having sites located in both in the United States and in Asia. The new unit at Solvay’s Specialty Polymers site in Augusta, Georgia, is expected to come on stream in mid-2016.

    What does the KetaSpire® PEEK product portfolio include?

    Solvay’s KetaSpire® PEEK product line is based on different resin melt flows and includes:

    • Neat grades (lubricated and non-lubricated)
    • Glass fiber GF and carbon fiber CF reinforced grades
    • Wear resistant SL grades (lubricated and non-lubricated)
    • Natural colored powders (coarse, fine, super-fine and ultra-fine)

    More information: KetaSpire® PEEK Design Guide

    How can I obtain Material Safety Datasheets of KetaSpire® PEEK grades?

    Material Safety Datasheets can be obtained by contacting your Specialty Polymers Technical Marketing representative.

    What is the natural color of KetaSpire® PEEK material?

    The natural color of KetaSpire® PEEK is light beige.

    It is possible to pigment KetaSpire® PEEK to make it a different color?

    Most KetaSpire® PEEK products are available either in a light beige (natural) or black color. However, KetaSpire® PEEK can be easily pigmented to match a variety of colors using commercially available color concentrates/masterbatches. Solvay generally recommends using masterbatches based on KetaSpire® PEEK.

    Does KetaSpire® PEEK contain a halogenated flame retardant?

    Since PEEK is inherently flame retardant, KetaSpire® PEEK compounds can achieve a UL-94 V0 rating down to a 0.8-mm thickness without the use of flame retardant additives.

    For more information: UL rating certifications.

    What material certifications do KetaSpire® PEEK resins have?

    KetaSpire® PEEK resins. As regulatory action is an ongoing activity, please contact your Specialty Polymers Technical Marketing Representative for the latest information regarding a specific application requiring agency approval or recognition.

    Certifications such as ASTM D4000, ASTM D5204, Mil-P-46183 and Mil-P-46179A are available, together with specific material certifications at key OEM and Tier suppliers level, including Boeing, Airbus, Comac, GE Engine, Ford, Chrysler and GM.

    Does KetaSpire® PEEK absorb moisture?

    While the mechanical properties of metals are essentially unaffected by short-term exposure to water, the response of plastics varies considerably and is related to the polymer’s chemistry. PEEK resins do not absorb much water, and the water that is absorbed has very little effect on the material’s mechanical properties. Typical change in weight due to water absorption after 7,000 hours of exposure is lower than 0.25% for unfilled grades and lower than 0.20% for glass fiber reinforced grades.

    More information: KetaSpire® PEEK Design Guide

    What about the KetaSpire® PEEK’s resistance to chemicals?

    KetaSpire® PEEK is compatible with a wide variety of chemicals found in severe end-use environments, and it is considered one of the most chemically-resistant polymers commercially available. This feature along with its exceptional heat stability makes PEEK particularly suited for critical applications in aerospace, automotive, chemical processing, healthcare, oil and gas, electrical, electronic, energy, and more.

    Results of several testing programs confirm the material’s excellent resistance to organic solvents, acids and bases, industrial fluids, aircraft fluids, automotive fluids, various sterilization methods and outdoor weathering. Samples of pellets and molded shapes are available for customers to use for testing specific to their application and end-use environment.

    Please contact your Specialty Polymers Technical Marketing Representative.

    More information: KetaSpire® PEEK Design Guide

    Does Solvay have FDA or EU food approved KetaSpire® PEEK grades?

    KetaSpire® PEEK complies with regulation 21 CFR177.2415; therefore, it is permitted by FDA for use as articles or components of articles intended for repeated use in contact with all types of food.

    Several grades of KetaSpire® PEEK are also compliant with the EU directive 10/2011. Information on current listings for specific grades is available from your Specialty Polymers Technical Marketing representative.

    Does Solvay have DW approved KetaSpire® PEEK grades?

    KetaSpire® KT-820 NT passes testing for effect on water quality (BS 6920) and is suitable for use in contact with potable water, as included in the Materials section, Part Two of the Water Fittings and Materials Directory. KetaSpire® KT-820 NT is also approved for use with hot water up to 85°C (185°F).

    Where can I get stock shapes made from KetaSpire® PEEK for prototype development?

    For KetaSpire® PEEK and AvaSpire® PAEK, Solvay offers a global channel of stock shapes producers and distributors. Contact your Specialty Polymers Technical Marketing representative to find the partner to best address your needs.

    Does KetaSpire® PEEK degrade during processing?

    Nearly all polymeric materials exhibit some loss of performance properties after long-term exposure to elevated temperatures. Some but not all of these changes are the result of thermal-oxidative degradation. TGA data clearly demonstrate that KetaSpire® PEEK is thermally stable well above recommended processing temperatures and expected service temperatures.

    Because it is not good practice to allow resin to stagnate during processing for prolonged periods of time at molding temperatures, Solvay recommends the following:

    • If the shut-down is for one hour or less, empty the barrel and purge several shots before restarting.
    • If the shut-down is for more than one hour, the barrel temperatures should be reduced to 338°C (640°F) or less. The barrel should be heated to normal processing temperatures and purged with the resin before continuing.
    • For extended shutdowns, empty the barrel of resin, purge completely with appropriate and adequate compounds, turn off the barrel heaters, and allow the machine to cool to room temperature.

    More information: KetaSpire® PEEK Design Guide

    Is there a way to measure polymer degradation?

    IV, multishear viscosity and DSC measurements are commonly used to determine the level of polymer degradation. For more information or assistance, contact your Specialty Polymers Technical Marketing representative.

    What is the recommended moisture content for processing KetaSpire® PEEK compound?

    The maximum recommended moisture level for processing KetaSpire® PEEK depends on the processing technology.

    • For injection-molding, maximum recommended moisture level is 500 ppm. Moisture levels can be checked using a conventional loss in weight analyzer. The test conditions for analysis should be 200°C (400°F) for 10 minutes or until moisture is no longer evolved. KetaSpire® PEEK resins must be dried before processing. This can be accomplished in a desiccated oven maintaining a dew point of -40°C (- 40°F) at 150°C (302°F) for at least four hours.
    • For extrusion, maximum recommended moisture level is 200 ppm. Since extrusion is a low-pressure forming process, resin that is not dried properly can result in a foamed extrudate.

    More information: KetaSpire® PEEK Design Guide

    How can I determine if my KetaSpire® PEEK part was molded under proper processing conditions?

    There are several test methods you can use to determine the quality of a molded KetaSpire® PEEK part. As an example, a DSC (Differential Scanning Calorimeter) analysis is frequently used to measure the crystallinity of a molded part. Also, a comparison of the IV (Inherent Viscosity) or VN (Viscosity Number) of a molded part to that of dried KetaSpire® PEEK pellets is a quick and robust method to determine if the polymer has been degraded or damaged during the molding process. Several other investigations and tests can be performed on molded parts in our specialized labs. Please consult your Specialty Polymers technical marketing representative for further information or assistance.

    More information: KetaSpire® PEEK Design Guide

    How do I purge KetaSpire® PEEK from the machine’s barrel if production is interrupted?

    Because it is not good practice to allow resin to stagnate during processing for prolonged periods of time at molding temperatures, Solvay recommends the following:

    • If the shut-down is for one hour or less, empty the barrel and purge several shots before restarting.
    • If the shut-down is for more than one hour, the barrel temperatures should be reduced to 338°C (640°F) or less. The barrel should be heated to normal processing temperatures and purged with the resin before continuing.
    • For extended shutdowns, empty the barrel of resin, purge completely with appropriate and adequate compounds, turn off the barrel heaters, and allow the machine to cool to room temperature.

    More information: KetaSpire® PEEK Design Guide

    How can I obtain KetaSpire® PEEK resin pellets and molded samples for testing purposes?

    Solvay provides a wide range sample pellets and molded shapes for testing purposes. Stock shapes or other thick-walled, semi-fabricates for machining prototype parts are not offered due to the complexity of the practical aspects of cooling such parts fast enough to prevent the material from being degraded at the inner core of thick sections. Please consult your Specialty Polymers Technical Marketing representative for further information.

    Does Solvay have the material characterization required for Moldflow simulation?

    Solvay’s most commonly used KetaSpire® PEEK grades are fully characterized to run FEA analyses. Data are available for most commercial rheological software. Please consult your Specialty Polymers Technical Marketing representative for further information.

    What type of FEA calculation can Solvay provide to its customers?

    Quasi-static, dynamic, anisotropic (Digimat) analyses are a daily routine for Solvay’s global CAE team. For specific projects, calculations for impact strength, fatigue resistance and creep resistance can also be provided. Please consult your Specialty Polymers Technical Marketing representative for further information.

    Does Solvay offer KetaSpire® PEEK products for coating applications?

    Solvay offers KetaSpire® PEEK fine powders for coating applications such as electrostatic powder coatings, liquid coatings, and water-borne coatings. Powders with an average particle size down to 10 µm are available. Please consult your Specialty Polymers Technical Marketing representative for further information.

    Does Solvay produce KetaSpire® PEEK films?

    Solvay manufactures a range of KetaSpire® PEEK films that combine excellent chemical resistance, very good mechanical properties, dielectric properties and flame resistance. Please consult your Specialty Polymers Technical Marketing representative for further information.