peek vs vespel

PEEK vs Vespel: Compare High-Performance Polymers

When it comes to material selection for high-performance polymers, two popular options are PEEK and Vespel®. These high-performance plastics offer a wide range of properties that make them ideal for various industrial applications. In this article, we will compare PEEK and Vespel®, highlighting their unique characteristics and advantages to help you make an informed choice.

Whether you are designing components for chemical processing equipment, aerospace applications, medical devices, or other high-demand industries, understanding the differences between PEEK and Vespel® is crucial for achieving optimal performance and reliability. We will delve into their chemical resistance, high-temperature performance, mechanical properties, and wear performance, equipping you with the knowledge needed to select the right material for your specific project.

So, join us as we explore the capabilities of these high-performance polymers and help you navigate the world of material selection for industrial applications.

Superior Chemical Resistance

When it comes to chemical resistance, PEEK is the clear winner. PEEK offers superior chemical resistance compared to Vespel®. It can withstand exposure to a broad range of harsh chemicals and acids, making it highly sought after for applications in industries where chemical exposure is a concern.

PEEK’s exceptional chemical resistance makes it an ideal choice for a variety of industrial applications. Chemical processing equipment, oil and gas industry components, and medical devices all benefit from PEEK’s ability to resist the corrosive effects of harsh chemicals. This high level of resistance ensures the longevity and reliability of these critical components.

Vespel® also provides good chemical resistance. However, it may not be suitable for all types of chemicals, especially those that are particularly aggressive or corrosive. It is crucial to consider the specific chemical environment when selecting the appropriate material for your application.

To illustrate the chemical resistance of PEEK, take a look at the table below, which compares the resistance of PEEK and Vespel® to different chemicals:

Chemical PEEK Chemical Resistance Vespel® Chemical Resistance
Sulfuric Acid Excellent Good
Hydrochloric Acid Excellent Good
Nitric Acid Excellent Good
Acetic Acid Excellent Good
Hydrofluoric Acid Poor Poor
Phenol Poor Good

Note: The ratings in the table are based on general chemical resistance. It is essential to consult specific chemical compatibility charts or consult with experts to ensure the suitability of the material for your intended application.

As the table demonstrates, PEEK offers excellent chemical resistance for most industrial applications, with only a few exceptions such as hydrofluoric acid and phenol. This exceptional chemical resistance makes PEEK a trusted choice for applications where exposure to harsh chemicals is a constant concern.

PEEK chemical resistance

In the next section, we will explore the high-temperature performance of PEEK and Vespel®, highlighting their suitability for various industrial applications.

High Temperature Performance

In high-heat environments, the operating temperature of a material is crucial to ensure optimal performance and reliability. When it comes to high-performance polymers, both PEEK and Vespel® offer impressive thermal capabilities for a wide range of industrial applications.

PEEK Operating Temperature

PEEK is known for its excellent thermal stability, allowing it to perform reliably at elevated temperatures. The material can withstand continuous use up to 500ºF (260ºC), making it suitable for various high-heat environments. PEEK’s exceptional heat resistance makes it a popular choice in industries such as aerospace, automotive, and electronics, where components are exposed to challenging operating conditions.

Vespel® Operating Temperature

Vespel®, on the other hand, surpasses PEEK in terms of operating temperature. This high-performance polymer can endure continuous use at temperatures up to 550ºF (288ºC). Furthermore, Vespel® has the capability to withstand short-term temperature spikes up to an impressive 900ºF (482ºC). This exceptional heat resistance makes Vespel® a preferred choice for demanding applications that require superior performance in extreme high-heat environments.

Some industrial applications that benefit from Vespel®’s high-temperature performance include:

  • Aerospace components, such as thrust reverser seals and engine bushings, which face elevated temperatures during flight operations.
  • Automotive parts, like piston rings and turbocharger bushings, where high temperatures are encountered within the engine.
  • Semiconductor manufacturing equipment, which operates in high-heat environments during the production of microchips.

Vespel operating temperature

The higher operating temperature of Vespel® compared to PEEK expands its range of industrial applications, offering enhanced performance and reliability in high-heat environments.

Mechanical Properties and Wear Performance

When it comes to mechanical properties, PEEK stands out with its superior toughness and strength compared to Vespel®. PEEK exhibits excellent fatigue and stress-crack resistance, making it highly reliable in demanding industrial applications. Its high strength and stiffness also contribute to its exceptional performance in various environments.

On the other hand, Vespel® excels in wear performance, offering remarkable resistance to friction and wear. With its low wear rates and a consistently low coefficient of friction, Vespel® is the material of choice for applications that involve high-wear scenarios, especially those with dry running conditions.

While PEEK does offer good friction and wear resistance, Vespel® takes it a step further in these specific areas, making it an ideal choice for bearings, seals, and other components that undergo intense wear and tear.

Comparing PEEK and Vespel® Mechanical Properties

Properties PEEK Vespel®
Toughness Superior
Strength High
Stiffness High
Wear Performance Good Superior
Friction Resistance Good Superior

As seen in the comparison table, PEEK takes the lead in toughness, strength, and stiffness. However, when it comes to wear performance and friction resistance, Vespel® outperforms PEEK significantly.

Vespel Wear Performance


In conclusion, when it comes to high-performance polymers, both PEEK and Vespel® have their own unique advantages in various industrial applications. PEEK is widely recognized for its exceptional chemical resistance, toughness, and biocompatibility, making it an excellent choice for environments exposed to harsh chemicals, such as chemical processing equipment and medical devices. On the other hand, Vespel® demonstrates its strength in high-temperature applications, offering outstanding wear performance and low friction.

When selecting a material for your specific application, it is crucial to carefully evaluate the required properties and operating conditions. This will ensure that the material you choose aligns perfectly with your project needs. It’s highly recommended to consult with experts in high-performance plastics, like Reading Plastic, for valuable guidance and expertise in material selection. Their in-depth knowledge and experience will help you make an informed decision when choosing between PEEK and Vespel®.

Ultimately, the choice between PEEK and Vespel® depends on the specific requirements of your industrial application. Both high-performance polymers have proven track records in different industries, providing reliability and efficiency in demanding environments. By considering the unique properties of PEEK and Vespel® and consulting with experts, you can confidently select the perfect material for your project and ensure its success in the long run.


What are the key differences between PEEK and Vespel®?

PEEK has superior chemical resistance and toughness, while Vespel® has a higher operating temperature and offers low friction and superior wear performance.

What are the industrial applications for PEEK and Vespel®?

PEEK is commonly used in chemical processing equipment, oil and gas industry components, and medical devices, while Vespel® is preferred for aerospace components, automotive parts, and semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

Which material has better chemical resistance, PEEK or Vespel®?

PEEK has superior chemical resistance compared to Vespel®. While PEEK is resistant to a broad range of harsh chemicals and acids, Vespel®, although offering good resistance, may not be suitable for all types of chemicals.

What are the temperature limitations of PEEK and Vespel®?

PEEK can perform continuously at temperatures up to 500ºF, while Vespel® can withstand temperatures up to 550ºF and even endure temperatures up to 900ºF for limited periods.

Which material is stronger, PEEK or Vespel®?

PEEK offers superior toughness and strength compared to Vespel®. It has excellent fatigue and stress-crack resistance, high strength, and stiffness.

Which material is better for wear performance?

Vespel® excels in terms of wear performance, offering low wear rates and low, constant coefficient of friction. While PEEK also offers good friction and wear resistance, Vespel® provides a superior performance in these specific areas.

What factors should be considered when selecting between PEEK and Vespel®?

When selecting a material, it’s important to consider the required properties and operating conditions. PEEK is known for superior chemical resistance and toughness, while Vespel® shines in high-temperature applications and offers excellent wear performance.

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