Polyaryletherketone PEEK™ Polymer for

The number of industrially based applications of the Polyaryletheretherketone PEEK™ polymer reflects the excellent physical properties and procassability of the material. A general overview of the physical properties relevant to most industrial applications may be given by considering two of the highest performance areas, namely, oil exploration and the chemical processing industry.

Geologists use data logging equipment to analyze the nature and structure of rock in an attempt to locate oil bearing strata. This may involve sample removal or the use of a probe (acoustic, radiation, electrical) to evaluate the rock. Although all downhole materials must have good wear resistance and mechanical strength, the specific geometries involved and the function of the probe in chemically aggressive environments. The exclude most conventional materials. Therefore, an easily processable material which can withstand temperatures in excess of 392°F (200°C), pressures up to 580 psi, and has excellent resistance to chemically aggressive environments, electricity and radiation is required. Natural PEEK™ polymer and GL30 PEEK™ polymer composite grades are chosen by the oil industry as they are the only materials able to perform well in such a demanding role.

The GL30 PEEK™ polymer is specially formulated to contain an optimum amount of short glass fiber reinforcement. The mechanical properties of the material are greatly enhanced with little reduction in processability.

PEEK™ polymer and the GL30 PEEK™ polymer composite grades are becoming increasingly used in the chemical processing industry due to a combination of excellent mechanical properties, temperature (500°F (260°C), UL746B) and outstanding chemical resistance.

Conventional processing methods (injection molding, compression molding) are often used to form compressor plates, seals and pump components used in gas and fluid transport systems. The excellent fatigue resistance and general mechanical properties have been shown to outperform fluoropolymers, while the chemical resistance is vastly superior to metal components for such applications.

The ability to form thin films on complex 3-dimensional objects means that PEEK™ polymer is often used to coat metallic parts which operate in chemically aggressive environments. The formation of these thin films is achieved by either electrostatic or plasma spray coating techniques.

The chemical processing industry strives for purity of product. The contamination introduced by materials used to handle the substances during production is a selection criteria. PEEK™ polymer is inherently pure, and therefore can be used in long service applications with extremely low levels of contamination introduced to the chemical streams being processed. Detailed evaluations of the chemical resistance, processing and physical properties of PEEK™ polymer are available upon request.

Some of the most expensive components within fluid or gas containment systems are the valves, which control flow. The estimated service-lifetime of a valve is often considered to be a selection criteria for new or replacement systems. Hex Valve have utilised the mouldability and the outstanding chemical resistance of the polyaryletherketone PEEK™ polymer, by forming valve linings in-situ.

Traditionally these components were manufactured from metals, which was a costly and in-effective procedure. Whereas, Hex Valve use 450G PEEK™ polymer to mould directly onto the valve unit which is placed in the tool. This creates a uniform non-removable lining, which exhibits superior in-service characteristics over conventional construction materials at a reduced cost per device.

The Danish jet-spray manufacturer Gerni, claims to have revolutionised the water spray cleaning process with the assistance of the polyaryletherketone PEEK™ polymer. The new design operates around two principles: the first involves creating larger drops of water, which at 600 kmh lose very little of their momentum to the air, and the second focuses on the frequency of impact between the droplets and the surface to be cleaned (80 to 100HZ).

The Polyaryletherketone PEEK™ polymer forms two identical components within the device, which act as an eccentric cam to impart a droplet frequency to the water stream from a stationary jet-head. With operating pressures approaching 15MPa and localised rotational heating estimated to be above 1000C, the high performance of PEEK™ polymer is required.

Using PEEK™ polymer for this application adds diversity to the product, as it may be used for cleaning apparatus with a variety of chemicals previously deemed too aggressive. The in-service use of the new equipment has proved beneficial to customers as up to 50% of water and power may be saved per cleaning operation.

A valve may be considered as a device which either prevents or allows the flow of a gas or fluid within a system. By this definition the critical component of the valve is the seat, as this is the part of the device which prevents leakage flow in the valve closed position. With hard seats (metal to metal) contaminants of the system that lodge in the area wilt prevent full closure of the device. The Polyaryletherketone PEEK™ polymer is used to form soft seats in valves as it has the ability to deform in order to complete the seat in such situations.

Saunders Valve chose to use 450GL30 PEEK™ polymer as the seat material for these devices as it exhibits outstanding creep and fatigue resistance over the outstanding temperature range associated with PEEK™ polymers. The excellent chemical resistance and tensile strength of the PEEK™ polymer components provides an extended service-lifetime over hard seats and the other thermoplastic materials tested for soft seats.

Traditionally compressor valve plates were constructed from metals. More recently the Polyaryletherketone PEEK™ polymer has become the material of choice for the industry. PEEK™ polymer is ideal for such applications as it combines excellent mechanical strength with outstanding fatigue and wear resistance.

These devices are often used in the transport of chemically aggressive fluids and one of the major faults with metal compressor plates was failure through metallic corrosion. Due to the outstanding chemical resistance of PEEK™ polymer the service-time of the device is greatly enhanced.

Components manufactured from PEEK™ polymer may be directly formed using conventional process equipment and can be used without further machining or annealing. Therefore, compressor plates may be manufactured at a reduced cost whilst the service-lifetime of the component is increased.


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