Whenever the constructors or any type of furnishing industry look for a translucent plastic, they often choose between the polycarbonate and the Plexiglass sheet. They are flexible and durable material. But people often tend to get confused between both of them. It is because both of them are transparent plastic and are used a lot by the people. The Plexiglass sheet and polycarbonate both weigh the same which as half when compared to the glass. Their weight makes them resistant to shattering while using it. Apart from this, the maintenance of the materials is very easy which makes them the first use.
After having so many similarities, it is difficult to choose the best one. Keeping this in mind, we have given you information about both Plexiglass and polycarbonate sheets to help you make the right decision. Keep reading the post below for all the details.
About Plexiglass sheet and its components
Do you want a rigid, lightweight, weather-proof plastic that will suit your application? Then, the Plexiglass sheet is the perfect solution for all purposes. It is also known as the clear acrylic sheet and is a transparent thermoplastic that is used in the sheet form. It has different characteristics and features make it feasible for use in different industries like machining, retail, plastic fabrication, construction, signage, and many more.
The material is believed to have been founded in 1928 and was then introduced in the market after five years by Rohm and Hass company. Plexiglass sheets have the clearest plastic available in the market. It was first used in World War II. Plexiglass also found its use in the submarine periscopes, windows of the airplanes, canopies, etc. It is the plastic of modern times and has been used for a variety of applications. The very common uses of Plexiglas sheets in modern times are the acrylic nails, lenses, LCD screens, medical devices, and security barriers, etc.
The acrylic sheet is also known as Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), which is a rigid thermoplastic and transparent material. PMMA has a lot of advantages when compared to polymers such as:
- Unlimited color options
- Light transmission
- Resistance to UV light and weather
The PMMA is made up of monomer methyl methacrylate which is a colorless polymer and is available in pellet form. It is a high-quality PMMA which is made up of cell casting. Also, it can be recycled for sure.
Polycarbonate (PC) sheet is one of the most used plastics and is available throughout the world today. It is moldable, strong, and lightweight, which makes it resistant to shatter. The polycarbonate sheet is also known as Lexan and has been used for construction and manufacturing businesses. PC is a transparent thermoplastic that can be found commercially and is available in different colors. It has very good resistance to heat and can also be combined along with the flame retardant materials.
Like any other plastic, it begins with the distillation of the hydrocarbon fuels into the lighter groups. Amongst this, some fraction of the distilled HC is then combined with other catalysts for producing plastic with the help of polymerization.
Difference in properties
As we have discussed already, you can use both polycarbonate and Plexiglass sheets as an alternative to glass. They both are transparent, shatter-resistant and quite moldable for easy application. However, there are certain properties that differentiate one from the other. Let us discuss the different properties of the PC and Plexiglass sheet.
Both Lexan and acrylic even after being strong can be scratched. Out of both the PC has greater impact resistance and therefore can be sued for the bulletproofing. On the other hand, Plexiglass is rigid and can chip off easily even after being produced in the form of flexible sheets. The polycarbonate exhibits around 30 times more resistance to the force.
The polycarbonate and acrylic both are available in different colors. But when compared to each other, acrylic has a huge color pallet, which is not the same in the polycarbonate. Since PC has a limited variety of colors and its color clarity erodes with time.
As we have seen, these two plastics are rigid and moldable. Therefore, you can drill or cut-through with the equipment for use. While working on them, make sure you pay a bit attention to the Plexiglass sheet, since it can crack or chip off. In addition to this, both are sensitive to heat. PCs can withstand the temperature of 240 degrees Fahrenheit, and that of acrylic is 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
The PC and acrylic are inflammable when compared to glass. Out of both, acrylic burns quickly and cannot be used in hot places, whereas PC plastic has very low flammability and can extinguish on its own. Apart from this, while using it in a bottle; make sure that you do not store any kind of eatery in it. Since the BPA can leach into the food which then can be absorbed by the body.
The Plexiglass sheet costs less when compared to the Lexan sheet which makes it the best choice for the big institutions. Also, Lexan is quite a lot more expensive than Acrylics and is the preferred choice for violence protection.
Pros and Cons of Acrylic Sheets
- Affordable compared to Polycarbonate
- Shinier surface
- Greater UV resistance
- Does not gets yellowish tinge with time
- Easier to cut
- High transparency which can be restored after polishing
- Also available in a wide variety of colors
- High level of impact resistance (17X than glass)
- Strong bonding to glue
- Can be polished if needed
- Available in huge color pallets
- Look good aesthetically
- Can crack easily than the PC
- Cracks very often
- More likely to chip off
- Softens at 195 degrees Fahrenheit
- Very rigid
Advantages and Disadvantages of Polycarbonate Sheet
- 250 times more impact resistance than glass
- Can handle the temperature of at least 240 degrees Fahrenheit
- Can be drilled without any problem of cracking
- Low level of inflammability
- Less rigid when compared to acrylic
- Highly resistant to the acids and chemicals
- PC can be bent easily without any heating
- Can be dented or folded easily
- Low level of resistance towards the abrasives on the surfaces
- Quite a lot more expensive than Plexiglass sheet
- Limited variety of colors
- Can get yellow in color with time due to the UV rays
- Its clarity cannot be restored
We hope this guide will clear you to know the difference between both the types of glasses.
The difference in application/use
There are different uses of these two plastic sheets depending on their properties. But wherever they are used they have been used satisfactorily. Below are the applications of both the Plexiglass sheet and the Polycarbonate sheet.
Application of the Polycarbonate Sheet
- Reusable drinking water bottles
- Molds for the silicone casting and urethane
- Guarding cover for machines
- Window well covers
- Racecar windows
- Computers and phone covers
- Transparent visors for hockey and football helmets
- Automatic windshields and windows
- Bullet-resistant glass
- LED light diffusers and pipes
Application of the Plexiglass Sheet
- Automotive trim
- Interior layer of window linings
- Light fixtures
- Hockey rink glass
- Helicopter and submarine windows
- Animal and reptile enclosures
- Fish tanks and aquariums
- Motorbike helmet visors
- Retail product display