Date of Award

August 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Materials Science and Engineering

Committee Member

Igor A. Luzinov

Committee Member

Stephen H. Foulger

Committee Member

Olin T. Mefford

Committee Member

Dimitris Priftis


Polyether ether ketone (PEEK) is widely regarded as a high-performance thermoplastic material due to its desirable properties, including a high strength to weight ratio and excellent chemical stability. However, a practical challenge to working with PEEK is that its chemical resistance and inertness make the adhesion of functional coatings to PEEK surfaces quite difficult. To this end, we have developed a method for promoting adhesion between PEEK and a thermoset epoxy coating by introducing a reactive and mechanically robust polymer layer at the interface, which bonds with both the substrate and the coating.

Our process involves pre-treatment of PEEK using mechanical abrasion and an environmentally friendly chemical etchant capable of increasing reactivity/polarity. This process introduces oxygen-containing functional groups at the surface that act as anchor points for the polymer interlayer. Polyglycidyl methacrylate (PGMA) and various PGMA-based copolymers were selected as interlayer materials due to their multiple epoxy functionality and are applied to the PEEK surface via dip coating. The interlayer swells and co-cures within the epoxy resin as it is used, forming strong bonds with both the substrate and the epoxy coating. The result is a significant increase in adhesive strength when compared to the untreated PEEK-epoxy interface.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.