Melt-Blended Multifunctional PEEK/Expanded Graphite Composites

Mozaffar Mokhtari, Edward Archer, Noel Bloomfield, Eileen Harkin-Jones, Alistair Mcilhagger

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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In this work, antistatic, high-performance composites of poly (ether ether ketone) (PEEK) and concentrations of 0.5–7 vol% expanded graphite (EG) were fabricated via twin-screw extrusion and injection moulding at mould temperatures of 200°C. The morphological, electrical, rheological, thermal, mechanical, and wear properties of the composites were investigated. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images indicate that distribution and dispersion of EG platelets in the PEEK matrix are enhanced at higher EG loadings. The electrical conductivity of the composites with 5 vol% of EG exhibits a sharp rise in the electrical conductivity range of antistatic materials because of the formation of conductive paths. The formation of a three-dimensional EG network led to a rapid increase in the storage modulus of the melt of the 2 vol% of EG-loaded composite at a frequency of 0.1 rad/s and temperature of 370°C. The neat PEEK and composites containing 0.5–5 vol% EG indicated a cold-crystallisation peak in the first heating scan of a non-isothermal differential scan calorimetry (DSC) test and their crystallinity degrees changed slightly. However, after removing their thermal and stress histories, the EG platelets promoted nucleation and increased the PEEK crystallinity remarkably, indicating that annealing of the PEEK composites can improve their mechanical performance. The neat PEEK exhibits the standard tensile and flexural stress-strain behaviour of thermoplastics, and the composites exhibit elastic behaviour initially followed by a weak plastic deformation before fracture. The addition of 5 vol% of EG to PEEK increased the tensile and flexural modulus from 3.84 and 3.55 GPa to 4.15 and 4.40 GPa, decreased the strength from 96.73 and 156.41 MPa to 62 and 118.19 MPa, and the elongation at break from 27.09 and 12.9% to 4 and 4.6%, respectively. The wear resistance of the composite containing 3 vol% EG was enhanced by 37% compared with the neat PEEK.
Original languageEnglish
Article number724958
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Materials
Early online date15 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished online - 15 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The North West Centre for Advanced Manufacturing (NW CAM) project is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The views and opinions in this document do not necessarily reflect those of the European Commission or the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). If you would like further information about NW CAM please contact the lead partner, Catalyst, for details.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Mokhtari, Archer, Bloomfield, Harkin-Jones and Mcilhagger.


  • Materials
  • high-temperature composite
  • cost-effective
  • expanded graphite
  • antistatic
  • wear resistance
  • cold-crystallization


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