Polycarbonate / Acrylic
Polycarbonate (Lexan) and Acrylic Sheets
Polycarbonate sheets have found their place in the industrial arena. Used mainly for guarding and guard fixtures, polycarbonate sheets are very impact resistant. Heat forming and cold bending of clear and colored sheets is possible as well, making endless fabrication possibilities available.
Lexan is the brand name for polycarbonate sheet and resin in a wide range of grades. Applications are mainly in three domains.building (glazing and domes), industry (machine protection and fabricated parts) and communication and signage. Common uses include space and sports helmets, clear high performance windshields and aircraft canopies, and bullet resistant windows. Polycarbonate / acrylic is also known as Lexan, plexiglass and clear plastic.
The following are some of the differences between the two:
Acrylic is breakable, but will not yellow. It is less expensive & can look like glass. Polycarbonate is virtually unbreakable, but will turn yellow under UV radiation (sunlight & fluorescent lamps). Both are available in various colors including clear.
Popular Uses for Acrylic:
Motorcycle helmet visors
Spectator protection in ice hockey
Police riot control vehicles modifications
Computer case mods (windows)
Popular Uses for Polycarbonate (Lexan):
. Compact discs, DVDs
. Lighting lenses, sunglass/eyeglass lenses, safety glasses, automotive headlamp lenses
. Drinking bottles
. Computers: Apple, Inc..s MacBook, iMac, and Mac mini
. Riot shields, visors
. Instrument panels
Key characteristics/differences, Acrylic compared to Polycarbonate (Lexan):
. More likely to chip, less impact resistance then Polycarbonate. (still 10-24 times more resistant than glass)
. Less likely to scratch.
. More of a consumer (household) level and is easier to find at hardware stores.
. Does NOT yellow after time.
. Better clarity and can be restored to optical clarity.
Key characteristics/differences, Polycarbonate (Lexan) compared to Acrylic:
. Impact/chip resistance is much higher with Polycarbonate. (about 30 times more resistant than glass)
. More likely to scratch.
. Substantially more expensive. (roughly 2 to 3 times)
. Used for more industry applications
. Bulletproof when thick enough.
. More bendable.
. More formable.
. Yellows over time due to ultraviolet rays
. Easier to work with (cut, less likely to break)
. Poorer clarity, diffuses light, can lighten (could be positive).
Available in many colors, in sheets I thickness up to 10″ and also many profiles and shapes.
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