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Plating Polyether ether ketone (PEEK)
When compared to most other polymers PEEK offers superior thermal, mechanical and chemical resistance properties. This makes it suitable for use in demanding parts such as bearings, pistons, pumps and compressor valves. These components can be found in end use applications such as aerospace, automotive, chemical processing, medical devices and telecommunications.
Coating PEEK with metallic coatings from either electro or electroless plating solutions, can enhance properties such as conductivity, lubricity, shielding and wear resistance.
PEEK provides opportunities to replace metal in connector housings and assemblies. If the PEEK substrate requires conductivity, electroless nickel can be applied. Alternatively, the use of copper and nickel electroplate provides effective electromagnetic and radio frequency shielding to the non-conductive surface.
Components such as brake pistons and pumps can be constructed from PEEK. Coating PEEK with electroless nickel or hard chromium could improve characteristics such as wear resistance and oil retention.
PEEK has replaced metals such as stainless steel in medical equipment. One of its advantages over other thermosetting plastics is ability to withstand high temperature steam or dry heat steralization. Selective plating of metals such as electro and electroless plated copper could have advantages of adding conductivity to the substrate.
Metalized PEEK can be used as an RF and microwave filter. The thermo stability of PEEK could allow replacement of metal substrates in applications subjected to heat. Subsequent metal coatings for this application include electroless and electrolytic copper and electroplated and immersion silver.
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