In the highly demanding conditions of space, the selection of materials used for spacecraft and associated systems are critical to mission success. The advent of advanced plastics, specifically high-temperature resistant polymers, has ushered in a new era of resilience and efficiency in the space industry.

These polymers, characterized by their exceptional performance under severe conditions, have proven to be indispensable in the design and construction of spacecraft components. In this informative brief from AIP Precision Machining, we explore the benefits of high-performance polymers, specifically their role in enhancing reliability, longevity and performance of spacecraft systems.


Critical Advantages of High-Performance Polymers in Demanding Spacecraft Applications

Employed in demanding spacecraft applications, plastics confer a multitude of tangible benefits. These materials exhibit low outgassing characteristics under vacuum conditions, an attribute critical for avoiding contamination in extreme outer space environments. They exhibit minimal friction, demonstrating significant life expectancy and diminished wear on interfacing metal components in vacuum, crucial for the overall durability and operational longevity of integral spacecraft apparatus.

Superior sealing capabilities, coupled with a consistent actuation torque when incorporated in spacecraft valves, affirm their practical utility in these complex mechanical systems. Inherent resistance to solvents, propellants, and other corrosive agents ensures their survival against the aggressive chemical milieu found in space. Moreover, these materials are resilient to radiation, sourced both internally and externally from the spacecraft, and exhibit noteworthy resistance to atomic oxygen-induced erosion.

The temperature adaptability of these plastics is demonstrated by their operational reliability within the space environment, where temperatures range from -150°C to 130°C, and they exhibit resistance to elevated temperatures in rocket engine applications. Exhibiting optimal flammability characteristics, these materials are compatible with both liquid oxygen (LOX) and gaseous oxygen (GOX), critical for maintaining safety in the highly reactive environments of spacecraft.

A key advantage of these plastics is their minimal moisture absorption prior to flight, a feature that preserves their structural and operational integrity. Additionally, they maintain excellent dimensional stability, exhibiting a low and consistent coefficient of thermal expansion.

These materials possess mechanical properties robust enough to withstand the extreme stresses associated with launch. Their lightweight nature, high specific strength and high specific modulus, contribute to the overall mass efficiency and increase payload capabilities of spacecraft. The excellent fatigue resistance of these materials, enabling them to withstand vibration and thermal cycling, is a vital aspect of spacecraft longevity.

Electrical insulation is another key application for these materials, which exhibit high dielectric strength, low dielectric constant, and low dissipation factor across a wide range of temperatures and frequencies. This is important when these materials are used for spacecraft antenna radomes. Their low thermal conductivity makes them apt choices for thermal insulation applications. Further, these materials possess vibration-damping characteristics, a critical requirement for safeguarding sensitive optics and electronics onboard spacecraft.


Types of High-Performance Polymers Used on Spacecraft Applications


The space environment presents a myriad of challenges that place considerable demands on the materials used in spacecraft. To meet these requirements, it’s crucial to turn to materials that offer superior performance characteristics. High-performance plastics stand at the forefront of this revolution, providing a unique blend of properties such as exceptional thermal resistance, chemical resilience, and structural integrity.

Let’s delve into the advantages of three high-performance plastics— ULTEM®, TORLON®, and VESPEL®—including their properties, benefits, and common applications. Each of these materials brings a unique set of benefits for aerospace applications, and understanding these nuances is key to harnessing their full potential.



Ultem®, an amorphous thermoplastic polyetherimide (PEI) resin, is renowned for its exceptional thermal resistance, dielectric strength, stiffness, and good chemical resistance, making it a material pick for various space and rocket propulsion systems applications.

Ultem’s notable characteristics are high processability, dimensional stability, environmental stress resistance, and flammability resistance, all of which are critical for the harsh and unpredictable conditions of space. It also offers long-term heat resistance, which is a significant factor for components exposed to extreme temperatures, which is beneficial for rocket launches.

Ultem’s elevated tensile strength of 15,200psi and consistent performance up to 340ºF underline its suitability for high-strength applications in the space industry. Its long-term creep resistance ensures the material does not deform under long-term mechanical stress. This makes it an excellent substitute for metal in many structural applications of spacecraft and rockets. The inherent flame resistance, chemical and hydrolysis resistance, and one of the highest dielectric strengths (830 V/mil ASTM D194) among thermoplastics are additional advantages that Ultem provides.

This material’s unique processability and dimensional stability, combined with its mechanical properties, provide considerable flexibility and freedom to design engineers. As a result, Ultem can be used in diverse components, including electrical insulators and parts of the propulsion system that require high strength and heat resistance.

Ultem’s versatility also extends to underwater connector bodies, an essential aspect in certain space missions that involve water landing of spacecraft. Furthermore, its unique dielectric properties make it suitable for analytical instrumentation and semiconductor process components found in spacecraft and satellites.

In summary, Ultem, with its balanced mechanical properties and processability, offers unique solutions to the space research industry’s demanding requirements. It is a premier high-temperature resistant polymer in the design and construction of spacecraft, rocket propulsion systems, and satellites.




●        Dimensional Stability

●        Environmental Stress Resistance

●        Flammability Resistance

●        High Processability

●        High Stiffness

●        High Strength

●        Long-Term Heat Resistance

●        Smoke Generation Resistance

●        Toxicity Resistance

●        Analytical Instrumentation

●        Dielectric Properties Required

●        Electrical Insulators

●        High Strength Applications

●        Reusable Medical Devices

●        Semiconductor Process Components

●        Structural Components

●        Underwater Connector Bodies




Torlon®, Polyamide-Imide (PAI) resin, is one of the highest-performing, melt-processible plastics. Due to its ability to retain strength and stiffness up to 500°F (260°C), its excellent wear resistance, and ability to endure severe thermal, chemical, and stress conditions, Torlon finds its place in many critical applications within space and rocket propulsion systems.

Several grades of Torlon are available, each with specific use cases. These include Torlon® 4203 (primarily for electrical and high-strength applications), Torlon® 4301 (general-purpose wear), Torlon® 4XG (glass-reinforced), and Torlon® 4XCF (carbon-reinforced). These varieties allow for a wide range of applications based on specific needs within the space industry.


See the SpecsDiscover Torlon’s Grades for Aerospace Applications


One of the notable characteristics of Torlon PAI is its high compressive strength, which is double that of PEEK and about 30% higher than Ultem PEI. This impressive strength, paired with the highest tensile strength of any unreinforced thermoplastic (21,000 psi), ensures that Torlon-based components can withstand the extreme mechanical stresses during a rocket launch and space travel.

Torlon also offers excellent wear and radiation resistance, both of which are essential properties for materials used in space environments. Inherent low flammability and smoke emission make it an ideal material for high temperature and potentially hazardous conditions present in rocket propulsion systems.

Torlon’s extremely low thermal expansion and superior creep resistance make it an excellent choice for tight-tolerance applications. This is especially useful in space applications where maintaining precise dimensional tolerances is crucial for system reliability and efficiency.

Structural parts of spacecraft and rocket propulsion systems are areas where Torlon is extensively used, as these parts must resist the high temperature and intense stress conditions of space travel. High-temperature electrical connectors, a critical component for successful signal transmission and data collection in spacecraft and satellites, can also benefit from the use of Torlon due to its excellent thermal resistance and high strength.

Moreover, Torlon’s excellent wear resistance and strength make it suitable for wear rings and valve seats in rocket engines, contributing to the longevity and efficiency of propulsion systems. It’s also used in bearing cages that support the rotation of mechanical parts, aiding in the smooth operation of various systems within the spacecraft.

However, Torlon’s moisture absorption rate, while not as low as other high-performance plastics, should be taken into account when designing components for use in humid environments. This consideration is essential to ensure the longevity and performance of Torlon-based parts in all space missions.

Overall, Torlon, with its excellent thermal, chemical, and stress resistance, coupled with high strength and stiffness, offers significant advantages in the design and construction of spacecraft, rocket propulsion systems, and satellites, thus playing a critical role in the space industry’s advancements.




●        Excellent Chemical Resistance

●        Excellent Stress Resistance

●        Excellent Thermal Resistance

●        Excellent Wear Resistance

●        High Stiffness

●        High Strength

●        Bearing Cages

●        High-Temperature Electrical Connectors

●        Structural Parts

●        Valve Seats

●        Wear Rings

●        Seals



The high-performance polyimide resin Vespel® is a well-known name in the aerospace, semiconductor, and transportation technology industries. It is highly valued for its combination of heat resistance, lubricity, dimensional stability, chemical resistance, and creep resistance. This balance of properties makes it particularly suitable for use in extreme and hostile environmental conditions, such as those encountered in space.

One of the remarkable characteristics of Vespel is its high-temperature resistance. This makes it ideal for use in the space industry where materials are frequently subjected to extreme temperatures. Furthermore, Vespel does not exhibit significant outgassing, even at high temperatures. This makes it useful for manufacturing lightweight heat shields and crucible support structures for spacecraft and rocket propulsion systems, where any outgassing could cause contamination and performance issues.

Vespel’s outstanding strength and impact resistance combined with low wear rates also contribute to its broad use in the space industry. Rocket propulsion systems and satellites need materials that can withstand extreme conditions while maintaining their mechanical properties. With its ability to retain mechanical properties at very high temperatures (up to 500ºF), Vespel serves as an excellent candidate for these systems.

Vespel’s high resistance to chemical corrosion makes it a suitable choice for parts that might come into contact with various industrial hydraulic fluids, fuels, and solvents during the spacecraft and satellite operations. This chemical resistance contributes to the longevity and reliability of the systems where Vespel is used. The chart below shows a breakdown of Vespel’s chemical resistance to common industrial fluids:


Chemical Media F K Time Hrs.

% Tensile Strength Retained by SP-1

Industrial Fluids
Hydraulic Fluid 248 393 1000 100
JP-4 Jet Fuel 210 372 1900 80
Jet Engine Oils 500 533 600 60 (90)(2)
Mineral Oil 392 473 1000 70  (90)(2)
Silicone Fluid 500 533 1000 70 (85)(2)
Ticresyl Phosphate (oil additive) 500 533 1000 80


In vacuum applications and extremely low cryogenic temperatures, Vespel performs exceptionally well, which is crucial for many space applications. Vespel’s ability to perform from cryogenic to extremely high temperatures results in a great seat or seal material for propulsion fuel systems. Despite absorbing a small amount of water that can lead to longer pump times in a vacuum, its overall performance in vacuum environments is commendable.

The ease with which Vespel can be machined to achieve complex geometries and tight tolerances offers great flexibility to design engineers. This allows for the creation of unique, intricate components necessary in aerospace applications, from bearings to critical aircraft parts.


Looking for design freedom and cost effective options? See how CNC machining stacks up against other plastics machining techniques.


While some polymers may surpass Vespel in individual properties, the combination of strength, temperature resistance, stability, and low outgassing sets Vespel apart, making it a trusted choice for various applications in the space industry and rocket propulsion systems.




●        High-Temperature Resistance

●        Overcomes Severe Sealing and Wear

●        Withstands Harsh Environments

●        Aerospace Applications

●        Semiconductor Technology

●        Transportation Technology


Advancing aerospace edge technologies with AIP’s Unrivaled Expertise

In this examination of high-performance polymers ULTEM® PEI, TORLON® PAI, and VESPEL® Resin we’ve underscored the pivotal role they play in advancing the frontier of space exploration. The impressive array of traits they exhibit — such as superior chemical, thermal, and stress resistance, low outgassing rates, limited moisture uptake, exceptional mechanical strength and rigidity — are all indispensable to thrive in an extraterrestrial environment.

Crucially, these materials show resilience under extreme operating conditions, as well as superior dimensional stability, low coefficients of thermal expansion, and high resistance to radiation and microcracking. These properties collectively ensure the structural integrity and longevity of spacecraft during challenging space missions.

As we propel further into an era characterized by heightened space exploration activity, the judicious choice and application of these high-performance materials become increasingly critical. By integrating these materials into spacecraft, we not only boost the performance and lifespan of these vehicles but also enhance the cost-efficiency of space missions through weight minimization.

The importance of high-performance plastics and composites in current and future space initiatives is irrefutable. These materials, with their unparalleled and advantageous properties, are catalyzing unprecedented advancements in space technology, and in turn, accelerating our journey into the cosmos.

At AIP, we are steadfastly committed to advancing the frontiers of materials science to meet the needs of the most challenging applications, including those in the space sector. We invite you to join us on this exciting journey of discovery and innovation. Partner with AIP and leverage our expertise in high-performance materials to propel your space technology solutions to new heights. Contact us today to learn how our solutions can help you overcome your space application challenges and realize your objectives. Together, let’s shape the future of space exploration.

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Why PEEK Plastic Material Biocompatibility Is the Standard in Orthopedic Surgery

Medical-grade Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) is a radiolucent high-performance polymer alternative to metallic biomaterials. It comes in different versions ranging from unfilled grades with varying molecular weight, to those with image-contrast and carbon fiber-reinforcement grades for demanding medical treatments inside the body or in the operating room. Carbon-reinforced PEEK is similar in strength to cortical bone, making it an attractive biomaterial for spinal fusion surgery, and reduce stress shielding.

In orthopedics, PEEK has been used for intervertebral cages, posterior & anterior instrumentation, and standard lumbar fusion. Additionally, clinical studies of PEEK for cervical fusion have revealed its advantages over titanium or cadaver bone.


As this material continues to gain traction in the orthopedic industry, it has shown superior qualities over stainless steel and titanium for biocompatibility, radiolucency, and durability.


A Brief History of PEEK in Orthopedic Surgery


Since the 1980s, Polyaryletherketones (PEEK) have been utilized as biomaterials in trauma, orthopedic, and spinal implants. Due to its relative inertness, radiolucency and chemical resistance, PEEK has had the greatest clinical impact in spine implant design.


Laboratory studies during the 1990s confirmed that PEEK implants had the needed combination of wear, strength, creep, and fatigue resistance to replace the metallic biomaterials in spinal implants. An intervertebral fusion cage was the first piece of spinal instrumentation that had been made with PEEK rather than metal. It was implanted in 1999 and made with PEEK-OPTIMA™ from Invibio Biomaterial Solutions.


The Future of PEEK Beyond Spinal Implants


Since then, PEEK has only expanded as a performance biomaterial for instrumented spine surgery. In the United States, spine fusion is one of the leading surgeries for patients who suffer from chronic neck and back pain that does not respond to preliminary treatments.


According to Orthopedic Design & Technology, around 215,000 Americans underwent spine fusion procedures in 1997. By 2007 that number had increased to 402,000. PEEK is now an established biomaterial that will only continue to expand.


The Biocompatibility and Biostability of PEEK

PEEK displays excellent biocompatibility and biostability as a performance medical-grade material. To differentiate, let’s briefly discuss biocompatibility versus biostability.


Biocompatibility – The biological requirements of a biomaterial or biomaterials used in a medical device. When it comes into contact with human tissue and fluids, it’s compatible with the environment and will not incur adverse effects.


Biostability – The ability of a material to maintain its physical and chemical integrity after implantation into living tissue. The FDA mandates that any medical material that comes into direct or indirect contact with human tissue and fluids must maintain mechanical and molecular integrity.


Anything touching or interacting with human tissue and bone must be both biocompatible and biostable for a patient. This is one area where metals fail compared to PEEK. Metals like titanium are a standard material for spinal fusion, yet clinical studies continue to reveal the advantages of PEEK.


Benefits of PEEK for Spinal Fusion

PEEK has a growing advocacy in the field of orthopedics for cervical fusion as well as spinal fusion. Published literature supports the material’s advantages and highlights these key benefits for patients with spinal and cervical fusion surgery:

  • • Improved spinal alignment and geometry
  • • Reduced hospital stays and decreased blood loss
  • • Decreased complication rates
  • • Good/excellent functional outcomes and improved patient satisfaction
  • • Excellent fusion rates


Biomaterial Comparison: PEEK Versus Metals

When it comes to standards of medical biomaterials, PEEK tends to outshine metals such as stainless steel and even titanium alloy.


Stainless Steel

Stainless steel has the advantage of being inexpensive, durable, and easily alloyed. However, as medical practices have advanced, stainless steel is often replaced by titanium and PEEK implants for spinal fusions.


First, stainless steel has low biocompatibility and is more likely to leech artifacts due to corrosion once implanted. This is a danger to patient safety and increases the need for surgeries overtime. PEEK, on the other hand, closely resembles cortical bone tissue and is flexible enough to graft onto tissue.


Additionally, metals like stainless steel visually obscure the healing site under fluoroscopy, making it more difficult for doctors to see whether the spine is healing correctly when doing checkups via X-rays or MRIs. Conversely, PEEK is a radiolucent material that offers ease, comfort, and a clear view to monitor stability and healing.


Titanium Alloy

Titanium alloy is an accepted standard biomaterial for spinal and cervical fusion surgeries. Compared to PEEK, it has a similar rate of fusion for cervical and lumbar spine fusions.


One potential complication of spinal fusion is the subsidence of disc height in the post-operative period. Recent studies to assess subsidence in titanium and PEEK cages showed a notably increased rate of subsidence in titanium versus PEEK in patient follow-ups.


This is a serious concern for surgeons looking to improve the rate of patient recovery and lessen repeat spinal fusion surgery. In this regard, PEEK is a superior performance material for safer and better spinal fusion practices.


Advancing Orthopedic Innovation With Medical-grade PEEK


The fields of orthopedics and spinal fusion continue to research new methods for best practices in the industry. Over the last three decades, medical-grade PEEK has established itself as the performance biomaterial of choice for surgeons and OEMs. Medical device design demands the highest level of sanitation, biocompatibility, and precision in one of the most extreme environments, the human body.


As a material that closely resembles cortical bone, PEEK has an established advantage over other metals such as titanium that have shown degradation and leeching over time. As OEMs search to expand the horizon of orthopedic medicine, PEEK polymer machinists like AIP stand at the ready to provide unrivaled expertise on design, function, and quick prototyping.


Talk to a team member from AIP about your next medical grade PEEK project. 

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Torlon® Takes the Heat in Mission-Critical Aerospace Components


Few businesses on the planet share the same level of scrutiny towards their components as those in the aerospace industry. The material properties of Torlon® are what make the high-performance thermoplastic a top material pick in the industry.


To pass the benchmark, aerospace components must be:

  • – Impervious to corrosive and oxidizing chemicals
  • – Able to function in both cold and hot environments
  • – Lightweight to reduce overall vehicle weight and increase payload
  • – Strong enough to withstand constant friction, impact, wear, temperature extremes, and high pressures


Few polymer materials can check all those boxes, but Torlon® is among them. For decades aerospace OEMs have relied on Torlon® to solve unique challenges in the aerospace and defense sector. One of its most outstanding properties is the ability to maintain mechanical stability at extreme temperatures. For this reason, it’s often used for bushings, fasteners, and screws in Boeing 787s and even F-16 fuel and air connectors.


Properties of Torlon®

Besides incredible thermal stability and resistance rivaling aluminum, copper, and steel, Torlon®  is well known for its strength under pressure and chemical resistance. Torlon’s benefits include the following:


  • – Wear resistance in dry and lubricated environments
  • – Maintains strength and stiffness up to 500°F (260°C)
  • – Low-temperature toughness and impact strength
  • – Chemical resistance, including acids and most organics
  • – Low creep and wear under load
  • – Excellent compressive strength and extremely low CLTE
  • – Low flammability and smoke generation



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High-Temperature Wear Resistance

Torlon® falls within the family of imidized performance polymers. Celazole® (PBI), VESPEL® (PI), and Torlon® (PAI) all perform at elevated temperatures up to and above 500°F (260°C). These grades of thermoplastics have resistance to chemicals, steam, and wear. Torlon® PAI is often accepted as a metal replacement in aerospace applications where temperatures range from cryogenic to extreme heat, and the application requires thermal/electrical insulation and weight reduction.



Torlon® Solves Tough Aerospace Challenges


Torlon® has been a critical material for many years with industries relying on its innate qualities to solve complicated challenges. How can Torlon® do the same for the aerospace industry? Consider the following:


1. Boeing thermal isolators – Increasing fuel efficiency by reducing aircraft weight is a constant goal for the aviation industry. In the case of the Boeing 787, Torlon® was able to help make that goal attainable. The engineers at Boeing theorized they could reduce the overall weight of the aircraft by feeding hydraulic lines through the fuel tanks rather than around them. For this to work, the hydraulic lines needed insulation that could handle being exposed and heated by harsh environments. Torlon® 4203 PAI was a perfect choice because it does not conduct heat nor electricity, which would have caused problems, as temperatures range from -40°F (-40°C) up 350 F (177°C).


2. Boeing bushings for blocker doors – Blocker doors allow the aircraft to slow down by creating a reverse thrust. The doors must be precise, and that task falls to the bushings in the hinge assembly. They must maintain a low friction and wear rate while surviving temperatures ranging from -40° to 500°F (260°C), and all without lubrication. Torlon® 4301 PAI provides all these needed properties.


3. Worldwide Aviation fastening screws – Aerospace OEMs need screws made from a material that can provide a capacity for heavy load-bearing while being optimized for production. In the case of radar systems, the screws also need to be made out of a material that won’t interfere with detection capabilities. For that reason alone, metal screws are out, as they’ll interfere with the radar’s ability to function. Torlon® 4203, on the other hand, is both RFI and EMI transparent, it doesn’t corrode, and it has a fantastic strength-to-weight ratio.


4. F-16 fuel and air connectors – With auxiliary tanks, the F-16 can take on the role of a strategic bomber, as its range is extended by a full 50%. At first, the fuel connectors were made from stainless steel but required additional insulation against lightning strikes, rendering metal connectors infeasible. Finding an alternative material proved difficult due to other variables; it needed to be resistant to temperatures up to 400°F (205°C), be chemically resistant to jet fuel, and handle constant vibrations. Torlon® 4203 was the answer, as it reached all those requirements while also handling pressures beyond 650 psi. This choice improved both the part performance and manufacturing costs.


In all of these real-world examples, Torlon® demonstrates its superiority in strength and thermal stability. The fact that it’s successfully used in critical applications is proof of the material’s reliability.



AIP, Unparalleled Results in Aerospace-grade Torlon® Machining


AIP precision Machining

Advancements in aerospace design keep defense technology at the forefront. Material design with precision plastics is a core part of this evolution. High-performance plastics like Torlon® provide lightweight characteristics and mechanical stability even at extreme temperatures above 500°F (260°C). Aerospace contractors look for precision and consistent results in machined precision plastics.


As a global leader in precision performance plastics, AIP understands how one single machined part contributes to the efficacy of an entire aircraft. We have machined complex geometries with .002 mm precision. Our machinists have over 40 years of experience working with defense OEMs. From Torlon to PEEK or Vespel®, our material design vetting process aims to produce a final piece that does more than meet criteria; it accelerates the mission and contributes to your entire bottom line.


Talk to our machinists and engineers today about your aerospace application; we can provide you with a design and part prototype oftentimes within ten business days.



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PEEK Polymer Biocompatibility in the Operating Room or Inside the Body

Biocompatible precision polymers, such as Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) have revolutionized medical technology practices for over a decade. Medical devices and implants that come direct or indirect contact with human tissue and blood must meet strict guidelines for short and long-term use.


Biocompatibility in spinal and other dental implants, for example, is critical to patient health and bone fusion for long-term functionality. Medical-grade PEEK has the advantage of excellent chemical resistance and stability at high temperatures. This makes it a material choice for medical procedures inside the body or in the operating room.


In our latest PEEK brief, we delve into the advantage of PEEK polymer material biocompatibility.


The Superior Biocompatibility of PEEK for Surgical Instruments & Orthopedic Implants


Medical grade PEEK has gained traction as a leading medical technology for its advanced properties and unique compatibility with human tissue and fluids. It has also become a material choice for implants and instruments over other medical-grade plastics and metals. Additionally, medical OEMs will use PEEK in precision medical devices that require stability in high heat and chemical environments.




Characteristics of Medical-grade PEEK

PEEK fulfills the requirements for biocompatibility under FDA and ISO 10993 guidelines. Not only does it maintain continuous use up to 480°F (250°C), it’s also an attractive precision plastic for components used in the medical field for the following reasons:


  • • Autoclave Sterilization Stability
  • • Abrasion Resistance
  • • Chemical Resistance
  • • High Ductility
  • • High Elongation
  • • Hydrolysis Resistance
  • • Low Outgassing


Grades of Medical PEEK

There are several medical-grades of PEEK, but here are some common brand names sourced from AIP’s industry partners.



TECATEC PEEK MT CW50® black plates are based on Victrex® PEEK that is reinforced with 50% vol. carbon fibers. This carbon fiber reinforcement elevates the stiffness and strength to be many times those of plates made from unreinforced PEEK or plates with short fiber reinforcement.


This grade of PEEK has been tested and approved for biocompatibility as per ISO 10993 for blood and tissue contact. It is autoclavable as it shows no significant loss of mechanical properties or degradation, even after many sterilization cycles. TECATEC® PEEK MT CW50 black is also suitable for gamma sterilization and is X-ray transparent. This makes it an ideal material for medical applications in multi-use conditions.



Ensinger ‘s TECAPEEK® MT was specially developed to meet the requirements for materials used in medical technology. Applications range from the orthopedic market, with the joint reconstruction and traumatology segments, to surgical instruments, the dental market, and many more.



Röchling’s SustaPEEK MG (Medical-grade) has excellent chemical resistance, high temperature stability, and excellent resistance to steam sterilization. It is commonly used for metal replacement in surgical implant applications. It is FDA, USP Class VI compliant, & ISO 10993-5 certified.


Ketron PEEK

MCAM’s Ketron® PEEK is a biocompatible polymer that boasts high mechanical properties with a continuous heat resistance of up to 482°F (250°C). Its great dimensional stability, excellent chemical & hydrolysis resistance, as well as its ability to sustain steam cleaning makes it a perfect polymer choice for medical implants, and other medical tool implementations.


Additionally, materials undergo numerous quality tests throughout phases of production, including 100% ultrasonic testing. Lot and batch traceability is available upon request with in-depth certification documents and raw material certificates of analysis.



Your Partner in Advancing Medical Technology


As a premier partner in precision plastic component manufacturing, we understand the demands of the medical industry. Cutting corners is out of the question for AIP’s expertise and craftsmanship. That’s why we are here to provide engineering guidance and finesse throughout the process. From initial design consultation to material selection and prototyping, we make it our priority to machine close tolerances, produce precise geometries, and meet the highest levels of sanitation.


Quality, accuracy, and durability are the norm at AIP. Not only do our customers demand it, we demand it of ourselves. We include quality assurance as an integral part of our process and is addressed at every step of your project, from concept to completion.


Contact an AIP team member for a quote for medical grade PEEK.

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Mission Critical Polymers for Performance Rocketry

Every part of a rocket’s design is critical. If one piece fails or the performance of that piece doesn’t match the demands of the environment, then the whole rocket fails. Organizations like NASA, Boeing, Blue Origin and SpaceX approach rocket part design and selection with careful consideration.

Polymers have a unique position in the Aerospace and Defense market as they present features and capabilities that can stand the test of harsh environments and continuous use. High heat, dielectric strength, moisture resistance, insulative properties and impact strength all come into play in building the parts that make a performance rocket launch skyward.

In this insightful blog, we discuss four key aerospace polymers enabling success in the rocket industry.


VESPEL® by DuPont

Polyimide (PI) is an extreme-performance thermoplastic branded by DuPont Co. as VESPEL®. The material’s prime characteristics include outstanding creep resistance, high impact strength, and low wear at high PV. VESPEL® components allow for continuous operation temperatures of 500°F (260°C) with short-term excursion capabilities of 900°F (482°C). It is a well-known performance thermoplastic for aircraft parts, such as thrust washers, valve seats, seals and wear components.

VESPEL® is available in many grades to meet specific design requirements. The current available grades include SP-1 (Unfilled), SP-21 (15% Graphite), SP-22 (40% Graphite), SP-211 (15% Graphite and 10% PTFE) and SP-3 (15% Molybdenum Disulfide).



When it comes to high heat and stress, TORLON® can take it. Polyamide Imide (PAI) is an amorphous thermoplastic with the highest performing, melt-processability. It maintains strength and stiffness up to 500°F (260°C), has excellent wear resistance, and endures harsh thermal, chemical and stress conditions. With its continuous use under high heat and stress, this material is often used in the following aerospace applications:  bearing cages, high temperature electrical connectors, structural parts, valve seats, seals and wear components.

There are several TORLON® grades available for PAI, including TORLON® 4203 (electrical and high strength), TORLON® 4301 (general purpose wear), TORLON® 4XG (glass-reinforced) and TORLON® 4XCF (carbon-reinforced).




KEL-F, or PCTFE (polychlorotrifluoroethylene), is a type of fluoropolymer that has a wide range of applications in the aerospace industry. It is prized for its high strength and durability, as well as its resistance to chemicals, heat, and wear. What makes KEL-F® stand out is its temperature range from -400°F to +400°F. KEL-F® In aerospace applications, KEL-F® is often used in fuel lines, hydraulic systems, and gaskets. Thanks to its unique properties, KEL-F® is an essential material for many aerospace applications.

At AIP, we machine various grades and brand name PCTFE. Branded names include the following: KEL-F® and NEOFLON®.




PTFE, or Polytetrafluoroethylene, is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene that has numerous applications in aerospace due to its low coefficient of friction, high temperatures and chemical resistance, and non-stick properties. PTFE was first used in the aerospace industry in the 1940s and has since been used in a variety of aerospace applications such as fuel lines, hydraulic systems, and gaskets.

At AIP, we machine various grades and brand name PTFE. Branded names include the following:  FLUOROSINT® 207, FLUOROSINT® 500, DYNEON®, SEMITRON® ESD 500HR, SEMITRON® PTFE, TEFLON®.



Polymers take flight as a new standard of aircraft excellence

As aerospace rocketry and aircraft continue to evolve with advanced technologies and sophisticated capabilities, material selection is crucial. Every piece that goes into a rocket is carefully thought and crafted for the highest level of performance. Torlon®, Vespel®, KEL-F® and PTFE are all thermoplastics enabling success in mission critical Aerospace and Defense rocketry.



Supporting Materials

Aerospace Market Materials

Aerospace & Defense Machining

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Push the Boundaries of High Performance and Sustainability With Precision Polyimides

When it comes to choosing a polymer for critical applications, there is no room for compromise. You need a material that can withstand the most challenging conditions while still providing the performance you need. For extreme environments, there is no better choice than DuPont’s Vespel® polyimide.

This unique polymer has been proven to exceed the performance of other materials in demanding applications, making it an essential component for mission-critical systems. With its exceptional strength and thermal stability, polyimide is ideal for use in aerospace and automotive engineering. So if you’re looking for a polymer that can handle anything, look no further than Vespel® polyimide.


Vespel® Works Overtime in Harsh, Demanding Environments


Image Source: Alan Turing Institute


Polyimide or Vespel® is a high-performance polymer made to withstand extreme environments where continuous friction and vast temperature variations are the norms. It’s most commonly found in engine components for the automotive and aerospace industries, as well as bushings and seals in industrial and energy applications. These mission-critical parts might come as small pieces, but they make a significant difference in weight, stability, and material longevity. Let’s take a closer look at how Vespel® benefits the Aerospace and Defense industry.


Aerospace applications of PI include:

  • compressors
  • fans
  • externals
  • nacelles
  • and engine oil system seals


The engine of an aircraft, whether for military or commercial use, is the most essential part of the plane. Keeping an aircraft in the sky and ensuring it reaches its destination is more than mission-critical; it’s non-negotiable. Vespel® meets the challenges of these environments, providing engineers with an innovative material advantage.


Vespel® Features and Benefits

Vespel® thrives in some of the most punishing environments like aircraft engines or gas-fired turbines. Here, we explore the top three features and benefits of Vespel®:


Feature Benefit
Vespel® is a lightweight alternative to metal. It offers a high tensile (8,750 psi) and flexural (16,000 psi) strength at one-half the weight of metal. Save weight – Vespel® offers astounding weight-saving benefits for aircraft by replacing metal or aluminum parts that add unnecessary weight.
Continuous service temperature – cryogenic temperatures to 260°C (500°F). Resist wear – With high temperatures, high speeds, and constant environmental fluctuations, Vespel® is a top choice for impact resistance and material preservation. It’s often found on bushings, fan blade root wear strips, as well as custom bumpers and pads.
Lower friction versus metal with a dynamic coefficient of 0.2 or less. Minimize friction losses – Components such as bushings need to withstand impact, cantilever loading, and accommodate designs with tight fits. Vespel slows part degradation and improves overall aircraft operability.


How Vespel® Compares to Other High-Performance Plastics

Vespel® is a high-performance plastic that is used in a variety of applications where strength, stability, and resistance to extreme temperatures are required. How does it stack up to other performance plastics like PEEK (Polyetheretherketone) and PEI (Polyethylenimine)?

Image Source: Performance Plastics Chart


When it comes to precision plastics, PEEK and PEI hold their own as exceptional engineering plastics. PEEK is often used in the medical field as a material for bone implants. PEI is most commonly used in high voltage electrical insulation applications due to its high dielectric strength. In comparison to PEEK and PEI, Vespel® has superior mechanical strength and flexibility.


Additionally, Vespel® is resistant to a wide range of chemicals, making it an ideal material for use in harsh environments. While Vespel® has many advantages over other high-performance plastics, it remains more expensive than these materials due to its complex manufacturing process.


Why Choose AIP for Your Vespel® Project?

When you’re working with a material like Vespel®, there is no margin for error. That’s why choosing a machining shop includes how they handle the material and how they handle your project from concept to completion.


38 Years of Precision Plastics Expertise

At AIP Precision Machining, we have over 38 years of experience in precision thermoplastics. Unlike other shops that may machine metals or other materials alongside plastics, our shop is 100% dedicated to plastics machining. It makes a difference in quality at the end of the day, as you can be assured that your machined parts will not deteriorate or crack from exposure to metal machining fluids.


Quality Assurance From Beginning to End

From start to finish, we take quality and compliance seriously. AIP is certified and adheres to the following regulations and standards:

  • ITAR
  • AS9100:2016
  • FDA Registered
  • ISO 13485.


Partnering With Leading Industry Suppliers

We have close ties with leading plastics manufacturers to give us even further insight and access to technical help in material selection, sizing, and machining protocols.


Through these partnerships, we offer a variety of materials available for expert machining services, including:

  • Vespel® SP and Vespel® SCP products
  • Ultem®
  • Ertalyte®
  • Radel®
  • Torlon®
  • Delrin®
  • and more


Unrivaled Expertise. Unparalleled Results

If you are interested in a quote for machined Vespel® or want a consultation for your precision project, give our team a call at (386) 274-5335 or click here. No matter how unique or complex your project may be, we are here to provide unrivaled expertise and guidance.

Find your next aerospace material for your mission-critical application.



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Here’s Why PEEK Is Kicking Metal to the Curb in Performance Engineering Applications

In the thermoplastic industry, there are a few materials that reign supreme. Among these, PEEK (polyetheretherketone) is king. This polymer has several advantages over traditional metal fabrication.


In this PEEK guide, we’re exploring why high-performance thermoplastic PEEK is kicking metal to the curb. PEEK has the strength and durability of metal, but at a fraction of the weight and resists chemicals and hydrolysis. It’s these qualities that allow PEEK polymers to replace metals in precision engineered components.


Industries That Benefit From PEEK Versus Metals

Let’s take a look at how PEEK improves performance and functionality in some leading mission-critical industries.


Aerospace and Defense

The aerospace and defense sector often replaces aluminum parts in favor of PEEK for weight reduction and its tolerance to high temperatures. The benefits include fuel reduction and longer part lifespan. PEEK is also a safer material to use, since its low conductivity allows for lower heat build-up.

Another strength of PEEK over metals is inherent to all plastics. PEEK has exceptional thermal and electrical insulative properties, which comes in handy with equipment designed to undergo extreme stress. Thermal insulation ensures the pieces won’t melt or damage neighboring equipment, much in the same way electrical insulation will stop damaging currents of electricity from harming critical systems on the plane.


Medical and Life Sciences

Material choice and design functionality make a vast difference for surgical instrumentation in the medical field. As a chemically inert thermoplastic, PEEK wins over metal in areas where chemicals may be present. Furthermore, PEEK offers radiolucency for scanning machines that need to produce clear readings of the interior of the body. Metals often muddle or interfere with the imaging.

PEEK has passed all ISO 10993 biocompatibility tests for both short and long-term implants. However, because PEEK is so durable, it’s generally only recommended for long-term implants.


Oil and Gas

With excellent resistance to abrasion, chemicals, and hydrolysis, PEEK thrives in tough environments, such as offshore oil rigs. The equipment in the oil and gas industry is placed deep underground where conditions, chemical reactions, and forces are unpredictable. PEEK is a common material for seals and valve plates to ensure a fail-safe environment.


Precision Devices

The use of PEEK in precision devices is not just for its elevated level of structural rigidity but also because it provides electrical insulation. Connector covers and transducer cases are made from this material to avoid interference with signals passing through the wires within a device. Since this industry engineers streamlined lighter designs, PEEK is an ideal choice for weight reduction.


Weight Reduction



One of the leading reasons for choosing PEEK over metallic competitors like aluminum or titanium is its lightweight properties. This has opened the door to many engineering material innovations.


One area, in particular, is aerospace and defense. Using PEEK over metals can cut fuel usage and create weight savings of up to 60 percent. This translates to lower annual fuel costs, reduced emissions, lower carbon footprints, and extended flight ranges.


Enhanced Performance

Polyetheretherketone PEEK provides performance-enhanced products by extending service life and resistance to corrosion with a lower coefficient of friction. In dynamic applications such as bearings or seals, this tough plastic can increase load capacity while also operating at temperatures of up to 480°F. This translates to fewer instances of maintenance and a longer overall performance from the system as a whole.


Design Freedom

One of the greatest strengths of thermoplastics is their contribution to design processes. PEEK can be CNC machined, injection molded, and even 3D printed. This type of versatility enables greater design freedom for complex engineering and custom geometries. Thermoplastic PEEK versus metals can be machined to specific tolerances as low as 0.002mm with the right machining shop.


High Purity



The medical sector demands nothing less than complete purity from materials, especially in the case of orthopedic implants, for instance. Metallosis is a real concern for metal implants as they can leach into the body. PEEK ,including Glass-Filled, PEEK-HT (High Temperature), and PEEK-UHP (Ultra-High Purity) are all desirable alternatives for metal applications in food processing, biomedical, and semiconductors.


Total Lower System Cost

When it comes to individual material costs, PEEK can range from 20 to 30 times the cost of some metals like stainless steel. Yet, the stand-alone cost cannot be the main factor in high-performance design decisions. Engineers look at the big picture in the long run of material value.

With the overall improvement in material performance, longevity, weight reduction, and purity factors, PEEK significantly decreases the cost of a total system. This is why it’s a popular material choice for high-performance engineering components.


The Global Leader for Performance PEEK Components

Precision and performance are what we strive for at AIP Precision Machining. With decades of experience in the industry, our dedicated craftsmen and close ties with leading plastic manufacturers allow us to provide unrivaled knowledge and consulting services in material selection, sizing, manufacturing techniques, and more to best meet your project’s needs.

If you are looking to use PEEK for your precision project, reach out to our team for a consultation. We are here to help solve your plastics puzzle and provide technical expertise and diligent craftsmanship from concept to completion.


Thinking about PEEK for your precision project?

Discover what this polymer can do



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Not just a standard…THE standard


AS9100D Logo

AS9100 is a company level certification based on the ISO 9001 quality standard requirements, but with additional requirements based on the needs of the aerospace industry. These satisfy both ISO 9001 quality standards and DOD, NASA and FAA requirements.

Companies in the business of manufacturing parts and components for both federal and civil enterprises in the aerospace sector are required to provide the highest level of quality assurance for their manufacturing techniques. Why? A single malfunctioning part on an aircraft could have a devastating impact on the entire apparatus. Not only is it dangerous for operation, but maintenance for an unknown malfunction is costly in time, budget, and resources.

That’s why the Aerospace and Defense industry has developed a strict quality management process for manufacturers to follow known as AS9100D. Here’s why it’s essential for precision plastics manufacturers to have an AS9100D certification.


Benefits of AS9100D Certification for Aerospace Machining Standards


Satellite orbiting Earth

Global Standard

An AS9100D certification is internationally recognized around the world, but with different numbering conventions. The International Standards Organization equivalent is ISO 9001. Major aerospace manufacturers and suppliers worldwide require compliance and/or registration to AS9100 as a condition of doing business with them.

Quality Assurance

When it comes to machining for the Aerospace and Defense sector, quality and consistency in manufacturing techniques are paramount. An AS9100D certification ensures that machining processes, product handling, storage, and shipping are all accounted for in a facility’s processes.

Requirement for Business

Material suppliers that wish to serve the Aviation, Space and Defense (AS&D) industry must attain this certification to prove the high level of competence required by the industry.

Works at the Federal & Civil Enterprise Level

The guidance recommended by AS9100D satisfies standards for NASA, DOD, and FAA. Whether a manufacturer is working with a federal-level defense contractor or a commercial jet line, an AS9100D certification shows commitment to quality processes around manufacturing aerospace parts.


How to get AS9100D certified

Certifying your machining processes are safe and consistent is a requirement for doing business in the Aerospace and Defense sector. In order to get an AS9100D certification, a company must prove its ability to remeasure and reassess a product during the construction phase, ensuring uniformity among mass-produced items. The certification does not focus on product quality, but product consistency in the end result. Here are a few areas to pay attention to if seeking the certification for manufacturing aerospace materials:

  • Emphasis on Risk Management
  • Attention to “Special Requirements”
  • Attention to “Critical Items”
  • Measure: Requirements conformance
  • Measure: Delivery performance
  • Adopt Proven Product Development Processes
  • Eliminate “recurring corrective actions”



Expert Aerospace Machining for Aircraft Plastic and Composite Parts

Jet fighters, satellites, and in particular spaceships need the highest level of precision engineering to accomplish their goals. To that end, machining plastic components to these exacting standards isn’t easy…it’s precise. At AIP, we’ve been working in precision plastics machining for over three decades. Our projects include major aerospace companies like Lockheed Martin and GE, all demanding the highest level of risk assessment and quality management throughout the entire machining process.

To that end, we are setting the standard for Aerospace and Defense plastic machining. In aerospace and defense applications, adherence to stringent industry specifications is something AIP takes seriously. AIP is a certified and registered ITAR facility and AS9100D certified. We are capable of satisfying all customer DOD, NASA and FAA quality requirements recommended by our OEM customers. We understand the need for lot and batch traceability, as well as materials that can survive extreme operating environments.

Every product we develop is made from carefully selected materials for your specific application and needs. Our high-performance thermoplastics and compounds made for the aerospace and defense industry feature:

  • Chemical resistance
  • Conductive or insulative properties
  • Corrosion protection
  • Extreme Precision tolerance (up to 0.002 mm)
  • Finished smooth surface
  • High-temperature resistance (exceeding 750 F, 400C)
  • Lightweight
  • No stress-induced distortion
  • Radar absorption

Want to contact us about aerospace manufacturing?

Get in touch with us online, or see our  AD9100D:2016 certification.

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What Is an AS9100 Certification?


Developed by the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG), the AS9100 is an international quality management certification. Material suppliers that wish to serve the Aviation, Space and Defense (AS&D) industry must attain this certification to prove the high level of competence required by the industry. AS9100 applies to both military and civil businesses.


The standard is accepted worldwide, with different parts of the world having their own numbering systems, but crucially, they all prove the same level of competence. Whether a company is made up of thousands of individuals or just one person, it will require the AS9100 to provide supplies to the aerospace industry.


However, just because a company could theoretically consist of one person doesn’t mean the certification is attained on an individual level. The AS9100 is a company-wide certification, meaning that it can only be acquired and applied to a company. So, if Darrel is the sole owner and employee of ABCD Inc. and earns the certification, Darrel isn’t certified, ABCD Inc. is.


Becoming AS9100 certified also means earning an ISO 9001 certification along the way. The reason is that the AS9100 is an extension of the ISO 9001 with an additional focus on aerospace regulations. So, companies that achieve an AS9100 will be qualified in multiple quality management systems.


Finally, the AS9100 certification is not a standard of product quality. Rather, it’s a standard of the processes taken to ensure a quality, consistent product. To attain the certification, a company must prove its ability to remeasure and reassess a product during the construction phase, ensuring uniformity among mass-produced items. The certificate may not focus on product quality, but the end result is the same.


Why Must a Plastics Machining Facility Be AS9100 Certified?

The quick and easy answer is that the certification is required by many aerospace manufacturers. If a plastics machining facility wishes to do business in this industry, attaining the certificate is an entry-level requirement.


The longer answer is that several large aerospace entities endorse the certification. Some of these groups include the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). To become an official supplier to any of these entities, a plastics machining facility Must have the certification.


But why do these institutions require the certification? Jet fighters, satellites, and especially spaceships need the highest level of precision engineering to accomplish their tasks; creating plastic components to such exacting standards isn’t easy. So, every stage of the creation process, all the way down to the small plastic materials, must go through a strenuous quality management system to ensure a low-risk management level for the final product.


What About AIP Precision Machining Allows Us to Achieve an AS9100 Certification?


We’ve made it no secret that precision machining is vital to who we are as a company. So much so that we’ve put it in our name! With AIP Precision Machining, you’re investing in a partner that not only understands the needs of the industry but has the decades of experience needed to perfect the processes that go into creating the perfect components.


With the regulatory requirements being as stringent as they are, there is no room for the kind of mistakes human factors tend to introduce to the manufacturing process. That’s why we involve several quality control checks in line with AS9100’s requirements during the creation process to guarantee the level of service quality expected from us.


We’ve satisfied several aerospace and defense industry requirements in the past, so we know the kind of qualities these industries need in their components. Our highly trained engineers, machinists, and programmers have been specially trained to create components with the types of qualities aerospace and defense organizations look for:


  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Extreme Temperature Resistance
  • And much more.


At AIP Precision Machining, product and service quality assurance is the norm for our customers and ourselves. We are proud to offer the aerospace industry our services in machining quality components. We have proven time and again that we are quick to deliver, cost-effective, and, more often than not, surpass customer satisfaction. Our safe and reliable products meet all statutory and regulatory requirements and are guaranteed to help see your project through to the end.


To contact us, call our main office at (386) 274-5335 or visit our website to schedule a consultation. With AIP, you have a manufacturing partner you can rely on.


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Keeping aircraft in “PEEK” condition for flight


High-temperature lightweight materials are critical to aircraft applications. Aircraft engines can reach temperatures up to 3812 Fahrenheit (2100 Celsius); vehicles at higher altitudes undergo extreme temperature changes compared to ground operations. Aircraft components and equipment must be able to withstand these temperatures in addition to high pressure, vibrations, impact, and corrosion to maintain reliable, safe operation. Among the advanced materials on the market, polyetheretherketone (PEEK) is a top material choice for aerospace and defense critical component applications.


AIP has over 39 years of experience machining complex tight tolerance components from thermoplastics like Polyetheretherketone (PEEK).  In this insightful technical brief, we discuss the advantages of PEEK for thermal applications in aviation component manufacturing.



PEEK for Machined Aircraft Components


Industrial-grade PEEK is a thermoplastic known for its flame retardance, abrasion resistance, and high impact strength. It is known for maintaining its mechanical properties at elevated temperatures, which makes it an ideal candidate for aircraft components.


Key Properties

  • Abrasion Resistance
  • Chemical Resistance
  • High Ductility
  • High Elongation
  • Hydrolysis Resistance
  • Low Outgassing
  • Thermal Stability


PEEK’s diversity of aerospace applications includes:

  • Flight control components
  • Fuel system components
  • Aircraft interiors
  • Engine and aerodynamic-related components


3 Benefits of PEEK’s thermal capabilities for aerospace materials


There are numerous reasons to choose PEEK for aircraft components. Aircraft often undergo extreme temperature fluctuations due to extreme altitude changes. Therefore, it’s critical for aircraft components to maintain their functionality and integrity in various operational environments.


While metals play a key role in aviation materials, especially structurally, they can’t compete with thermoplastics in several categories, including thermal and electrical isolation and lightweight/high-heat performance. There are three reasons PEEK is a better choice than metals for thermal applications:


Insulating and Radar Absorbent:  Military vessels and aircraft rely on stealth to carry out critical missions and projects. Thermoplastics like PEEK are naturally radar-absorbent as well as thermally and electrically insulating.  These properties allow for flame retardance, radar transmissivity, weight reduction, and insulating properties all combined in one!


Corrosion-Resistant:  Exposure to harsh chemicals is inevitable whether on a plane, drone, or space vehicle. PEEK handles high temperatures of 480 Fahrenheit (249 Celsius) continuously and maintains functionality in hostile environments during exposure to water, chemicals, aircraft fuels, and steam. This quality alone can increase the lifespan of an aircraft, save operators on costly maintenance services, and reduce MRO downtime for more operational time per aircraft per year.   


Flame and Smoke Resistances:  PEEK carries a V-O flammability rating and exhibits very low smoke and toxic gas emissions when exposed to flame.  Therefore, PEEK is an ideal candidate for interior aircraft components. Today’s commercial jet engines can reach temperatures as high as 3,092 degrees Fahrenheit (1,700 Celcius). Under such a heat index, aircraft materials have to maintain functionality, and PEEK is an excellent material for numerous applications within PEEK’s thermal capability range.


PEEK is a material choice over metal not only for its thermal properties, but as a lightweight material, it shaves off excess weight that would have otherwise increased the fuel usage in an aircraft. It’s estimated that operators can make weight savings up to 60 percent When converting metallic components to high-performance polymers such as PEEK. This translates to lower annual fuel costs, reduced emissions, lower carbon footprint, and extended flight ranges.


Choosing a machining facility for your aerospace manufacturing


PEEK and other thermoplastics continue to gain attention as a material choice for high-performance aircraft and aerospace manufacturing applications. It’s important to not only focus on the thermal properties of the material but the overall capabilities of a material and how it could fit into your design.


When researching machining shops for your performance plastic aerospace application, look for a manufacturer that machines only plastics. Some manufacturers machine both metals and plastics on the same machine, and that can contaminate a precision polymer machined part with micro metallic fragments.


Also, ensure the facility is audited and registered to the correct regulatory standards, including CMMC, ITAR, FDA, and AS9100D. Most OEMs work under stringent regulations, especially those affiliated with government operations. It’s critical to have a shop that communicates with you every step of the machining process and follows these strict regulations.


If you are looking for thermoplastics like PEEK for an aerospace project, AIP’s engineers offer design consultation, precision plastics machining expertise, and on-time project delivery. For over 39 years, AIP has worked with performance thermoplastics from PEEK, VESPEL, TORLON, RADEL, TEFLON, and ULTEM to provide highly precise and extremely resilient machined parts. One final key component is to assure your polymer machining partner is capable and well experienced in thermal stress reliving of polymer materials. There is more to machining mission-critical polymer aerospace components than just the machining! Contact AIP for a consultation on your mission-critical project.


Supportive Information


Aerospace Materials
Peek Variants Guide


Thermoplastics make a big difference in weight savings for aerospace materials. See how:


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