The AvaSpire family of polymers is a product of Solvay, the leading producer of high performing ultra-polymers. AvaSpire is relatively new and was created to bridge the gap between PEEK and imidized polymers such as Torlon PAI. Although PEEK and Torlon clearly have their place in many applications, AvaSpire is often a more cost-effective choice when neither material alone will do the job.
Generally the choice depends on the operating temperature range and the desired physical properties. AvaSpire also even provides improved surface aesthetics, which is important for applications where colorability is needed. While Torlon and PEEK remain the industry standards, AvaSpire is worth looking at closely when neither PEEK or Torlon are perfect for your application.
AvaSpire is similar to PEEK in a lot of ways in addition to the chemistry similarities. It is a high performing, melt-processible thermoplastic that can be injection molded or machined into any desired shape. Like PEEK, AvaSpire can be fabricated into a range of custom parts, and also like PEEK, it readily accepts reinforcements that improve its properties even further. But what makes AvaSpire an interesting choice when PEEK and Torlon are available? This is what AvaSpire can bring to a project:
- Improved performance where it’s needed the most – Though PEEK and Torlon are impressive materials in their own right, there was a need for a thermoplastic that could provide better strength and stiffness in the 150° to 200°C range. At this temperature, PEEK begins to soften, compromising its stability and performance. AvaSpire, as a hybrid polyketone, offers better stiffness in this temperature range. It also replaces PPS in many applications beyond the 100-degree Celsius threshold. In all, AvaSpire retains its shape even under extreme thermal conditions.
- Better physical properties across the board – Thermal resistance in the 150° to 200°C range is AvaSpire’s most notable feature, but it isn’t the only one. In addition to this thermal resistance, AvaSpire also provides superior ductility and toughness, giving component fabricators additional options in executing component designs. AvaSpire is just as chemical resistant as PEEK in most environments. Compared to PEEK, AvaSpire provides comparable durability in every aspect, but is generally 20 percent less expensive than PEEK.
- Compatibility with numerous additives – AvaSpire more readily accepts reinforcements such as glass and carbon fibers better than PEEK. The base form of AvaSpire offers excellent impact resistance removing some of the tendency for such materials to be notch sensitive which works against machinability. When coupled to glass fiber, AvaSpire 621GF30 provides extended toughness, along with its high strength and stiffness.
Glass fibers also lend dielectric properties to the polymer, along with improved machinability and autoclavability. When linked to carbon fibers, the AvaSpire 621CF30 can be installed in applications where it is likely to be highly stressed including those with some frictional forces. The 621CF30 provides better chemical resistance as well, and can even ward off high temperature steam.
- FDA compliance and inertness – All versions of AvaSpire, no matter what additives it has been combined with, are FDA compliant. This, along with the polymer’s inertness make it an ideal pick for sensitive applications, like medical operations. Some of these applications include surgical instrument handles and components, dental fixtures and orthopedic trials. AvaSpire can also be found in fasteners, valve seats, compressor valve plates and high temperature sealing components. Its chemical bio inertness is essential for sensitive medical operations, as it will not cause damage to surrounding tissue.
AvaSpire fills an important gap between PEEK and Torlon, offering optimal performance in a tight temperature range that extends beyond PEEK. AvaSpire’s use in such applications will help reduce material costs while providing a much needed boost in performance.