As the wind industry continues to focus on turbine efficiency and greater reliability, design engineers are looking for proven materials that can perform with the same assurance as traditional metals. The inclusion of high-modulus fibers (HMF) into high-flow VICTREX PEEK materials offers the strength and stiffness necessary to displace metals such as steel, aluminum, titanium, brass, and magnesium in industrial applications, such as wind turbine towers.
Victrex’s advanced polymer is said to add to the V90 series to meet high-performance requirements. The company says it provides mechanical strength and stiffness for high-temperature applications typically requiring metals. This improves long-term reliability and cost savings. The polymer, a lightweight thermoplastic, reduces component weight compared to its metal counterparts. “Weight reductions and mechanical properties can potentially lead to efficiencies that were not attainable in the past,” says Stephen Dougherty, Strategic Marketing Manager. “Weight can be reduced up to 80% when compared to steel and brass.”
Dougherty says converting aluminum brackets, clips, fasteners, and other secondary structures to VICTREX PEEK HMF polymer can help decrease a product’s lifetime costs. In addition to the ability to consolidate parts with more functional designs, it can also help shorten cycle times and reduce production costs because of the efficiencies gained through injection molding.
As service expectations increase, material specifications are critical to ensure safe and reliable operation with minimal maintenance required. The PEEK HMF polymer has been tested in a range of chemicals including hydraulic fluid, jet fuel, oil, grease, and lubricants. These environments can undermine the longevity of many other metals and plastics. The company adds that a combination of good fatigue performance and a long term use temperature of 500°F (260°C), the polymer has been used as a reliable metal replacement for applications found in some of the harshest environments. WPE
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