PEEK composites reinforced with zirconia nanoﬁller
T.K. Mishra, Ashish Kumar, Vishal Verma
, K.N. Pandey, Vijai Kumar
Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology, Lucknow, India
Received 19 December 2011
Received in revised form 24 May 2012
Accepted 19 June 2012
Available online 26 June 2012
B. Mechanical properties
D. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
D. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA)
The present investigation deals with the preparation and characterization of nanocomposites of poly-
ether ether ketone (PEEK) containing nanosized zirconia ﬁller up to 3 wt.% loading. It has been observed
that presence of zirconia ﬁller dispersed in polymer matrix enhances various basic and functional prop-
erties (e.g., mechanical properties, thermal stability & other physico-mechanical properties). The SEM
studies reveal that the dispersion of zirconia nanoﬁller is uniform throughout the polymer matrix. The
thermal stability of the nanocomposites has been studied by TGA. Thermal analysis of the composites
shows an increase in the thermal stability with increase of nanoﬁller content. This may be attributed
to strong interaction between polymer chains and ﬁller particles. DMA studies show the signiﬁcant
improvement in storage modulus of the nanocomposites because of better interaction of zirconia parti-
cles in PEEK matrix.
Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Polyether ether ketone (PEEK) is a tough semicrystalline ther-
moplastic polymer with excellent mechanical properties. It has
been applied as matrix material for high performance material.
Over recent years composites materials, especially those involving
inorganic ﬁllers as reinforcement materials in a polymer matrix
have become the focus of the considerable research [1,2]. At the
nanoscale, the inorganic ﬁllers improve dramatically the properties
of these polymers even though their amount is small. These nano-
composites exhibit improved modulus, lower thermal expansion
coefﬁcient and gas permeability, higher swelling resistance and
enhanced ionic conductivity. PEEK and their composites reinforced
with ceramic ﬁllers result in the improved thermal , mechanical,
electrical  and wear resistance [5–7] making them useful for
various applications . The incorporation of inorganic ﬁllers into
polymer matrix for commercial applications is primarily aimed at
the cost reduction and stiffness improvement. Recently PEEK prop-
erties have been further improved by incorporating micron sized
particles such as aluminum nitride (AlN) [9,10], aluminum oxide
) , calcium carbonate (CaCO
) , and hydroxiapatite
(HA) ﬁllers . PEEK and its composites have been reported for
their uses in aerospace, automobile, structural, high temperature
wiring, tribological and biomedical, etc. applications [14,15]. PEEK
has advantages over other polymer based composites because of its
high fracture toughness and excellent resistance to moisture. Kuo
et al.  studied the effect of nanosized alumina on mechanical
and thermal stability of PEEK nanocomposites and they found
improvement in both properties with the increase of the nanoalu-
mina content. Nanostructural interfacial bonding between the
polymer and alumina improve the mechanical and thermal stabil-
ity characteristics of the polymer .
The aim of the present work is to investigate the effect of load-
ing of nanoscale zirconia particles in the PEEK matrix based on
physico-mechanical, thermal and morphological properties.
2. Material and methods
PEEK (grade ketaspire 820P) powder purchased from Solvay
chemicals Alpheretta (USA) is used as matrix material in this study.
The density of PEEK polymer is 1.3 g/cc. The reinforcing ﬁller nano-
)of$100 nm was purchased from Sigma Aldrich
(USA). Silane (N-(2amino ethyl)-3-amino propyl trimethoxy silane)
purchased from Merck Chemical Company was used as coupling
agent. Ethanol from Merck Chemical Company was used as solvent.
Since it is not possible to measure the volume amount for the
nanoparticle when they were in powder form thus the addition
of nanoparticles was measured by wt.%.
2.2. Nanocomposite preparation
For the preparation of nanocomposites silane coupling agent
was mixed with ethanol and sprayed onto zirconia nanoﬁller,
and allowed to cure at room temperature for a period of 24 h. Then
the silane modiﬁed zirconia nanoparticles were mixed with PEEK
0266-3538/$ - see front matter Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org (V. Verma).
Composites Science and Technology 72 (2012) 1627–1631
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