PEEK (polyether ether ketone) Contribution
There are three major priorities in the oil and gas industry today:
- minimizing environmental impact,
- finding new sources for depleting oil and gas resources, and
- maximizing efficiency.
This is the first in a series of three articles discussing how PEEK (polyether ether ketone) contributes to meeting the modern goals of the oil and gas industry. In this article, we will focus on how PEEK can be used to minimize the environmental impact.
Other key articles on PEEK components:
- 5 Top Reasons Why PEEK is Popular Choice for Seals
- Five Fascinating Characteristics of PEEK as a Bearing Material
- Polymer Sacrifice: Carbon Fiber Reinforced PEEK as a Wear Component Material
A critical component in minimizing environmental impact is making sure that equipment is safe and reliable. Not only is in important to keep contaminants out of a system, but it is equally important to keep certain chemicals and gases inside the system and out of the environment. Leaking seals and poorly performing components can eventually lead to catastrophic failure that can damage the environment, and endanger people’s lives.
The use of PEEK seals and bearings can be a first step toward developing a more reliable, safe system. PEEK eliminates the issue of the corrosion that is experienced with metal components. It is resistant to a variety of aggressive chemicals, including both solvents and acids. PEEK is also resistant to oxidation and UV.
It’s resistance to wear and abrasion make it ideal for seal and bearing applicants. Unlike many metals, it is resistant to stress cracking, and stress corrosion cracking is not an issue. It has very good fatigue properties, increasing its overall reliability.
In short, the appropriate use of PEEK material can increase part life and reliability while reducing equipment downtime. This in turn reduces component failure and possible catastrophic failure. PEEK properties provide a reliable, dependable alternative to metal in many petrochemical applications.
Because PEEK is significantly lighter than the metals that it replaces, it contributes directly towards a reduction in fuel consumption requirements. It has a much higher specific strength and specific stiffness than metals like steel, aluminum, and titanium that it often used to replace. That means you can achieve the same strength and stiffness with much lighter-weight parts.
PEEK plastic is easy to recycle, and there are applications where the use of recycled PEEK is appropriate. Its toxicity is low, and natural PEEK does not contain any chemicals that are currently known to be toxic. PEEK also has low smoke, fire, and toxic gas emissions should it be involved in a fire.
In short, PEEK itself does not have a significantly negative impact on the environment during its creation, service-life, or end-of-life disposal.
PEEK Versus METAL Conclusion
The high performance polymer polyether ether ketone, or PEEK as it is commonly referred to, can be used to successfully replace existing metal parts. In doing so, a system can be made more environmentally friendly by increasing its safety and reliability. By using lightweight PEEK, weight requirements are reduced which in turn can reduce fuel consumption requirements. As a plastic, PEEK is not considered toxic, even when exposed to fire, and is easy to recycle.
The next time you are looking at components for a system in the oil and gas industry, don’t forget to consider using PEEK seals and bearings.
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