The European Space Agency has confirmed that Zortrax Z-PEEK polymeric material meets the outgassing requirements for space flights.
Only a few polymers are suitable for space, as the majority of them release gases that tend to contaminate sensors and other fragile spacecraft components which severely degrades their performance.
In accordance with the ECSS-Q-ST-70-02C standard, Z-PEEK is now cleared for spaceflight.
Z-PEEK is a 3D printing filament based on polyether ether ketone that has a strength-to-weight ratio comparable to stainless steel, and strong thermal properties.
The material was developed to withstand thermal-cycling in vacuum chamber used for space-qualification tests, radiation, or wear in over 22 milion cycles inn PEEK-sttek gear pair working at 1600 rpm.
Z-PEEK is compatible with Zortrax Endureal 3D printer, and can be printed in single extrusion mode or with breakaway support structures printed in dual extrusion with Z-SUPPORT HT.
Zortrax said, the material can be used in space industry even for out of cabin applications.
Z-PEEK is already employed to manufacture aircraft components, radiation-resistant parts, and abrasion-resistant mechanical parts.
Zortrax claimed that mechanical properties of Z-PEEK samples 3D printed on the Zortrax Endureal 3D printer are equal to the highest ever reported in scientific literature, as tested by ESA.
“Compliance with outgassing requirements is absolutely crucial when it comes to providing materials for space industry,” said Michał Siemaszko, head of research and development department at Zortrax.
“Having those properties confirmed by tests done at ESA’s ESTEC facilities and getting an official report from those tests enable us to provide more value to our most demanding customers.”