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What is PEEK?

April 28,2022

Polyether ether ketone (Poly-ether-ether-ketone, PEEK for short) is a kind of special polymer material consisting of repeated units containing two ether bonds and one ketone bond in the main chain structure. It is a material series of polyether ketone. It has the characteristics of semi-knot crystal state, high temperature resistance, chemical corrosion resistance and so on.

The characteristics of PEEK

Polyether ether ketone (PEEK) is currently the only variety of polyaryl ether ketone (PAEK) material that can be mass-produced. PEEK, as a special engineering plastic, has excellent comprehensive properties.
Typical features of PEEK:
(1) Workability: PEEK resin has the advantages of high temperature fluidity and high thermal decomposition temperature. It can be processed by injection molding, extrusion molding, molding, blow molding, melting spinning, rotary molding and powder spraying, etc.

(2) Radiation resistance: with strong radiation resistance, mechanical properties can still be retained more completely under high dose γ rays, more than the best radiation resistance polystyrene in general resin, can be used as radiation resistant parts in nuclear equipment.

(3) Flame retardant: PEEK has self-extinguishing, even without any flame retardant, up to UL standard 94V-0 grade.

(4) Creep resistance: under the action of constant stress, the material will permanently deform into creep in a period of time. PEEK is the best creep resistance material of thermoplastic resin.

(5) Toughness and rigidity: with high tensile strength, high stress cracking strength, especially for alternating stress fatigue resistance is very outstanding, comparable to alloy materials.

(6) Self-lubrication (wear resistance) : PEEK has excellent sliding characteristics, suitable for strict requirements of low friction coefficient and wear resistance applications; In particular, PEEK modified with carbon fiber, graphite and PTFE has excellent wear resistance.

(7) High temperature resistance: PEEK has high glass transition temperature (Tg=143℃) and melting point (Tm=334℃), its load thermal deformation temperature is up to 316℃, long-term service temperature is 260℃, instantaneous service temperature can reach 300℃, under high temperature and high pressure for a long time without any loss of physical properties.

(8) Hydrolysis resistance: PEEK products can continue to work for thousands of hours without obvious performance degradation in 260℃ steam or high pressure water immersion; PEEK has the best resistance to hydrolysis and steam among all engineering plastics.

(9) Non-toxic: can be used in food hygiene, medical equipment and other fields.

(10) Corrosion resistance: Except concentrated sulfuric acid, PEEK is insoluble in any solvent and strong acid and alkali, with high chemical stability.

(11) Fatigue resistance: PEEK has the best fatigue resistance among all thermoplastic resin materials.

The application of PEEK

Polyether ether ketone (PEEK) resin is a kind of excellent performance of special engineering plastics, a number of significant advantages compared with other special engineering plastics, high temperature resistance, good mechanical performance, self lubrication, chemical corrosion resistance, flame retardant, stripping resistance, radiation resistance, insulation stability, hydrolysis resistance and easy processing, etc., widely used in medical field.

PEEK resin can withstand up to 3000 cycles of autoclaving at 134 ° C, which makes it suitable for the manufacture of highly sterilized surgical and dental equipment requiring repeated use. PEEK not only has the advantages of light weight, non-toxic and corrosion resistance, but also has the characteristics of elastic modulus of human cortical bone, which can be organically combined with the body. Therefore, using PEEK resin instead of metal to manufacture human skeleton is another important application in the medical field.

PEEK was first used in the clinic in 1999. Since then, more than five millionPEEK productshave been implanted in humans, making it the gold standard in spinal fusion. In recent years, PEEK has been praised as “the ideal material for the next generation of implantable medical products”.

What kinds of implants are made from PEEK?
(1)bone substitutes, maxillofacial bone implants
(2)spinal surgery, spinal intervertebral fusion
(3)and hip bone substitutes, joint implants
(4)the orthopaedic equipment: the fixed plate and screws
(5)teeth substitute CFR – PEEK – made of dental implants, dentures, root retention
(6) in cardiac surgery, the heart pumps and valves

Which companies in the world can produce long-term implant PEEK? Peek-optima is produced by Invibio, the biomaterials division of Victrex in the UK.PEEK;

(1) Implantable PEEK material launched into the market currently has an absolute monopoly advantage in the global market.
(2) Belgium Solvay launched the implant-grade PEEK material zenIVa-PEEK in 2009.
(3) Evonik from Germany entered the Chinese market in early 2014 with the product name: VESTAKEEP PEEK.
(4) Guangzhou Jusheng Medical Technology Co., LTD., the only manufacturer with implant-level PEEK material in China, has launched implant-level PEEK JS-S1 with the brand name NATUREGEN and brand grade JS-S1.

The history of PEEK

Initial incubation period (1978-1992):

PEEK is a super high performance special engineering plastic developed by ICI in 1978. ICI applied for patent and industrialized it, with a production capacity of 1000 tons per year, which is mainly used in the defense industry.

Monopoly Development and Collapse (1993-2004):

Victrex acquired PEEK business from ICI, showing a monopoly development trend, and continuously expanded the production scale. In 2003, the annual production capacity increased to 2800 tons. Subsequently, similar products were developed successively by DuPont, BASF, Mitsui Tosei Chemical Company of Japan, and Telep of the United States. PEEK has expanded from its initial military applications to industrial and biomedical applications.

For a long time PEEK has been listed as strategic materials for China’s blockade and embargo by the Paris Coordinating Committee. In order to meet the needs of national defense and civil high-tech development, the state has included it into the national key science and technology research projects from the seventh five-year Plan to the tenth five-year Plan and the 863 Plan for research. Under the strong support of China’s policies, Professor Wu Zhongwen’s team of Jilin University independently developed PEEK patent technology with independent intellectual property rights and founded Jida High-tech Materials Co., LTD., which was put into production.

Comprehensive Development Stage (2005-present):

In 2005, Evonik acquired The PEEK business of India’s Garda, while Solvay acquired the PEEK business. In 2009, China’s Jinfa Technology Co., LTD., Panjin Zhongrun Special Plastic Co., Ltd. and other companies entered the field, and PEEK entered the stage of all-round development. In addition, the modification of PEEK composite and processing technology is gradually developing, and the application field is also expanding. Due to the large number of manufacturers specializing in PEEK production around the world, the degree of market competition will become increasingly hot. At present, Wiggs, Solvay and Evonik are the three largest PEEK manufacturers in the world.

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