Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) is a semi-crystalline thermoplastic with many advantages such as corrosion resistance, aging resistance, strength and toughness, high temperature resistance, high glass transition temperature, wear resistance, etc., and is used in many applications. It can be used as a lightweight replacement for metal parts in industrial applications. It is also a very commonly used 3D printing material.
Of course PEKK is not perfect. Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) published a study that further enhances the performance of 3d printing and cnc machining PEEK by embedding mica flakes as fillers in PEKK materials to improve their thermal conductivity and mechanical properties. Mica has a high aspect ratio, good electrical and mechanical properties, is safe and low-cost when embedded in a matrix. The team predicts that mica fillers will improve the performance of 3D-printed PEKK-based parts without affecting the chemical resistance of PEKK.
“Here, we report the integration of three grades of mica flakes into PEKK at 10% and 30% mass loading to generate a range of filament materials. These filaments can serve as raw materials for FDM 3D printers,” the researchers wrote . “Similar to unfilled PEKK, the printed composites effectively cold-crystallized after printing, thereby improving dimensional stability. All mica, when used as fillers at low and high relative PEKK crystallinity, increased load-related Tensile modulus of the component.”