PolyEtherEtherKetone (PEEK) is a thermoplastic polymer belonging to the PAEK family. The other members of this family are PEKK, PEEKK…
PEEK is the most commercially known member of the PAEK family. It is neutral in colour (light beige) and structurally stable over a wide temperature range (-190 °C to 260 °C depending on grade). It is very resistant to thermal degradation, as well as to attacks from organic and aqueous media. It has exceptional chemical resistance and wear resistance. It is biocompatible, sterilizable.
PEEK has a glass transition temperature (Tg) between 145 and 155°C and a melting temperature (Tm) of 330 to 345°C.
PEEK’s unique combination of mechanical, thermal and chemical properties makes it suitable for application in the most technically demanding engineering applications.
THERMAL MANAGEMENT DURING 3D PRINTING
It is important to understand the behavior of materials during 3D printing. This is particularly true for high performance semi-crystalline materials such as PEEK.
The temperature of the object being printed plays a crucial role during 3D printing processing, it is important to be aware of the thermal management requirements of these types of materials and it is necessary to distinguish base polymers and amorphous polymers (ABS type) from high performance polymers such as PEEK.
If the temperature of the object being printed is not sufficient, this results in delamination of the layers (poor adhesion between layers because the lower layer is too cold), deformations (commonly called warping), dimensional variations, poor crystallization, incomplete crystallization, etc… A heated printing bed (even at 150°C) and a closed enclosure are not sufficient, to print PEEK correctly, it is necessary to maintain the part at very high temperature to avoid these inconveniences.
The SpiderBot HT is equipped with an exclusive infrared part-heating system (patent pending), which keeps the part being printed at temperatures up to 200°C. This reduces shrinkage stresses and deformations during the crystallization phase of the PEEK and produces much stronger and more homogeneous parts. The advantage of this system is that it allows the use of standard quality components because only the part being printed is maintained at high temperature, the components penetrating the infrared heating zone are either water cooled or covered with infrared radiation reflecting film.