New PEEK Grades Offer Particle Size Down to 10 Microns for Demanding Applications in Chemical Processing, Aerospace, and Oil and Gas

ALPHARETTA, Ga., September 10, 2013 – Solvay Specialty Polymers has announced the commercial introduction of new super-fine powder (SFP) and ultra-fine powder (UFP) grades of KetaSpire® polyetheretherketone (PEEK) for water-borne coatings, powder coatings, and resin pre-impregnation of continuous fiber composites. These new KetaSpire® PEEK powders provide excellent strength, durability, and chemical resistance for demanding applications in chemical processingoil and gasaerospacesemiconductorhealthcaretransportation, and other industrial uses.

“Since PEEK is a semi-crystalline resin and is very difficult to dissolve in common solvents, the application of coatings from solution is not a viable process option,” explained Jamal El-Hibri, principal scientist for Solvay Specialty Polymers. As a result, the most useful techniques for PEEK in coating applications are the use of waterborne media in which the PEEK powder is in suspension or the use of air-borne coating processes using techniques such as fluidized beds or electrostatic powder spray guns. For all these techniques, fine particle size is required to achieve a uniform high-quality coating with good structural integrity. Solvay's KetaSpire® SFP grades have a nominal median particle size of 30 microns while UFP grades provide the finest possible particle size with a nominal median particle size of 10 microns.

In addition to coatings, another major application area for KetaSpire® SFP and UFP powders is the solventless pre-impregnation of continuous carbon fiber and other continuous fiber reinforcements, with PEEK resin as a thermoplastic matrix. This is achieved through an electrostatic powder coating process and the finest possible particle size allows for good coating, even distribution, and uniform melting of the PEEK resin around the reinforcement.

Solvay’s super-fine PEEK powder offering includes KetaSpire® KT-880 SFP, a high-flow grade, and KetaSpire® KT-820 SFP, a low-flow version. The ultra-fine PEEK powder line includes KetaSpire® KT-880 UFP, a high-flow grade, and KetaSpire® KT-820 UFP, a low-flow material. All four grades are unreinforced and supplied in a natural color.

The new PEEK powder grades are commercially available and sampling is currently underway in a range of application areas.

About Solvay Specialty Polymers 
Solvay Specialty Polymers manufactures more high-performance plastics than any other company in the world. The company supplies over 1500 products across 35 brands of high-performance polymers – fluoropolymers, fluoroelastomers, fluorinated fluids, semi-aromatic polyamides, sulfone polymers, aromatic ultra polymers, high-barrier polymers and cross-linked high-performance compounds – for use in Aerospace, Alternative Energy, Automotive, Healthcare, Membranes, Oil & Gas, Packaging, Plumbing, Semiconductors, Wire & Cable, and other markets.

As an international chemical group, SOLVAY assists industries in finding and implementing ever more responsible and value-creating solutions. Solvay generates 90% of its net sales in activities where it is among the world's top three players. It serves many markets, varying from energy and the environment to automotive and aerospace or electricity and electronics, with one goal: to raise the performance of its clients and improve society's quality of life. The group is headquartered in Brussels, employs about 29,400 people in 56 countries and generated 9.9 billion euros in net sales in 2013. Solvay SA is listed as SOLB.BE on NYSE Euronext in Brussels and Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB:BB - Reuters: SOLB.BR).