PEEK (Polyether ether ketone) is a high-performance polymer belonging to the polyaryletherketone (PAEK) family of semi-crystalline thermoplastics (PEK, PEEK, PEKK, PEEKK, PEKEKK) and amongst them, PEEK is the most widely utilized and manufactured in large scale.

Used in engineering applications, PEEK has excellent mechanical and long-term chemical resistance properties that are retained to high temperatures, and is highly resistant to thermal decomposition or thermolysis.

Thanks to these properties, PEEK and its composites are widely used in aerospace, automotive, biomedical, high temperature electrical and structural applications.

Despite the high price of this high-performance engineering thermoplastic polymer, the added benefits that PEEK material brings, such as being lightweight, robust and able to survive longer in harsh environments, is invaluable.

Machining PEEK

Because of its hardiness, PEEK is used to fabricate items used in demanding environments. In its solid state PEEK is readily machinable, for example, by CNC milling machines and is commonly used to produce high-quality plastic parts that are thermostable and both electrically and thermally insulating. Filled grades of PEEK can also be CNC machined, but special care must be taken to properly manage stresses in the material.

PEEK melts at a relatively high temperature (343 °C / 649.4 °F) compared to most other thermoplastics. In the range of its melting temperature it can be processed by conventional methods such as injection molding, extrusion, compression molding etc.

Some examples of parts that can be machined from PEEK include:

  • PEEK bearing
  • PEEK bushing
  • PEEK valve
  • PEEK valve seat
  • PEEK backup ring
  • PEEK washer