Aromatic ketone polymers, sometimes referred to as polyaryletherketones (PAEKs), are a family of crystalline thermoplastics characterized by outstanding thermal stability, mechanical properties and chemical resistance. This family of aromatic polymers includes:
- Polyetheretherketone (PEEK)
- Polyetherketone (PEK)
- Polyetherketoneketone (PEKK)
PEEK is the dominant type of aromatic ketone polymer, accounting for approximately 85–95% of world production. Aromatic ketone polymers have the highest unit price among all high-performance polymers; the list prices range from $85 to $120 per kilogram as of mid-2012. Aromatic ketone polymers are approximately ten times more expensive than polysulfones or polyphenylene sulfides and five times more expensive than liquid crystal polymers. However, aromatic polyketones exhibit the following combination of characteristics, which are unmatched by other high-performance polymers, and thus justify their high prices:
- Outstanding high-temperature performance
- Excellent combustion-resistance properties
- Unique combination of strength, stiffness, impact resistance and elongation, high wear resistance
- Good resistance to virtually all organic chemicals
- Good electrical properties
The following pie chart shows world consumption of aromatic ketone polymers:
During 2011–2017, world consumption is expected to grow at an average annual rate of about 8%. China, Western Europe, the United States and India are forecast to grow at about 12%, 9.5%, 8% and 8.5%, respectively.
Growth will be driven by a number of factors, including the continued conversion of metal parts to plastic, component integration, more demanding end-use performance requirements (e.g., in hybrid and electric vehicles) and continued miniaturization and innovation (e.g., in consumer electronics).
The continued pursuit of weight savings, increased fuel efficiency, lower carbon dioxide emissions, and lower overall manufacturing costs will help drive aromatic ketone polymer demand in the automotive, aerospace and mass transportation industries.
Growth in the oil and gas industry will be driven by increased productivity; aromatic ketone polymers offer the required mechanical performance at extreme temperatures and in harsh chemical environments.
Albeit relatively small, medical applications continue to be a rapidly growing market for polyketones.
Aromatic Ketone Polymers
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Published: September 2012