Acrylic and polycarbonate both weigh less than half of what a comparably sized piece of glass weighs yet they are both much stronger than glass. Remember, if it's plastic it’s at ACME PLASTICS. Second, acrylic is extremely scratch resistant. Here are the different types of polycarbonate and acrylic sheeting available: Polycarbonate and acrylic share many of the same types of plastic sheeting options like clear, colored, mirrored, and more. This overall creation process is known as polymerization. Save Saved Removed 1. If you are interested in clarity and light transmittance, acrylic sheets will outperform polycarbonate sheets. So, what’s the difference between plexiglass vs acrylic? But before we compare and contrast polycarbonate and acrylic sheeting in detail, let’s identify some well-known features that are unique to each material. There are various chemical differences between Polycarbonate sheets (manufactured by companies such as Lexan and Makrolon), and Acrylic sheets, but two of the main differences are the strength and fire rating. Polycarbonate Light Fixture Lens Material Advantages. While it depends on the final product and volume, Polycarbonate is generally 30-40% more expensive than Acrylic. Polycarbonate is a polymer of a carbonate group and bisphenol. Strength: The polycarbonate is stronger than the acrylic. Here is the much awaited comparison between the most commonly used clear products in the industry, Acrylic & Polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is the stronger material at 250 times the impact resistance of standard glass. Difference Between Acrylic (Plexiglass) vs Polycarbonate (Lexan) Glass Acrylic (also known as Plexiglas) and Polycarbonate (also known as Lexan) are top popular clear plastics that are considered as eminent solutions for a broad range of visual applications. The key difference between polycarbonate and Plexiglass is that polycarbonate contains carbonate linkages as repeating units, whereas Plexiglass contains methyl methacrylate units as repeating units.. Polycarbonate and Plexiglass are polymers. Â. Plastic is synthesized from petrochemicals. Polycarbonate offers much more resilience than acrylic, making it ideal for highly demanding applications like bullet-resistant windows. Fish tanks, reptile and other animal enclosures 1. First, like polycarbonate, acrylic has very high transmissivity (it allows for the passage of light). When it comes to clear backboards, two types you will commonly see are acrylic and polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is sometimes called Lexan®, which is a trademark by Sabic. Acrylic is significantly more durable when exposed to Ultra Violet radiation (sunlight). Each exhibits particular advantageous and disadvantageous characteristics that make one or the other more appropriate to use in a given application. Polycarbonate sheets can cost on average about 35% more than acrylic. When it comes to their appearance, both are generally clear and look very similar to one another from afar. It won’t begin to lose that strength and durability that it has today! One of the biggest differences between acrylic and polycarbonate is the cost. It is 250 times stronger and just as clear as glass. Because of these two qualities acrylic is frequently the plastic of choice for optical devices. Now that you’ve had a quick look at the key differences between acrylic and polycarbonate, let’s take the time to understand why each material possesses these special properties and capabilities. Generally speaking, acrylic sheeting is shinier and polycarbonate sheet is stronger. Plastic is a polymer that has a large molecular mass. Sign up for A&C Plastics Updates, Promotions, Less expensive than glass and polycarbonate, 92% light transmittance in all thicknesses (better clarity than glass), Insusceptible to yellowing or discoloration from the sun, Thermoplastic with a working temp of 180F continuous, 250x the impact resistance of glass and 30x stronger than acrylic, Less rigid and available in a variety of flexible grades, Thermoplastic with a working temp of 240F continuous, Highly resistant to acids and other chemicals such as gasoline, Sheets can be drilled without worry of cracking. Don’t misunderstand my preference for acrylic. Sign Up for Our Newsletter to Receive Special Offers, Acrylic UV-Filtering OP3 Frame Grade Clear Sheet, Acrylic UV-Filtering OP3 Non-Glare P99 Frame Grade Clear Sheet, Acrylic Non-Glare P99 Frame Grade Clear Sheet, Twinwall and Multiwall Polycarbonate Sheets, Comparing the Physical Properties of Plastic, Polishing, Beveling & Rounding Acrylic Edges, Polycarbonate & Acrylic Greenhouse Panels. Acrylic is a less expensive alternative to polycarbonate, but polycarbonate is stronger and better able to withstand heat and UV rays. Of the two, polycarbonate has higher impact resistance and is used in bulletproofing applications. From durable signs and skylights to eye-catching retail store fixtures, displays, and shelves, acrylic plastics provide outstanding versatility, durability, and aesthetic qualities. Acrylic and polycarbonate are very useful plastics with a wide variety of properties. Acrylic vs. Polycarbonate Backboards. Acrylic is often compared to polycarbonate, another transparent polymer sometimes used for bearing loads. Acrylic and Lexan, a branded name for polycarbonate sheeting, are both durable and flexible materials, often compared to one another because both are transparent and both stand as two of the most frequently utilized types of see-through plastics. On the other hand, if you are looking for high impact resistance, polycarbonate sheeting is the obvious choice. Both materials are also very easy to clean. We are open & shipping products during the COVID-19 pandemic. These two types of plastics are oftentimes compared to one another because they are similar in appearance and the most frequently utilized see-through plastic materials on the market. Acrylic and Polycarbonate are both half the weight of a comparably sized piece of glass and yet both plastics are much stronger than glass providing much greater imoact resistance. One of the biggest differences between acrylic and polycarbonate is the cost. Common Applications of Acrylic & Polycarbonate. When to use LEXAN vs Plexiglass Polycarbonate and acrylic are suitable for use in a variety of applications, some similar, and some very different. Polycarbonate vs Acrylic We’ve seen how polycarbonate is used and the many applications it’s used in but as with any building or production material, there is always an alternative. Acrylic is the most common choice for the majority of basketball hoops for the outdoors.    Â. At Piedmont Plastics, acrylic sheeting and polycarbonate sheeting are two of the most popular types of products we sell. Here are some common applications: Spectator protection for ice hockey rinks. Additionally over time both will lose visual clarity, the difference being that acrylic be polished to regain it; polycarbonate cannot be. Also, be sure to check out our complete acrylic and polycarbonate product lines. As a result, both plastics are used in a number of applications across a range of industries. The unique physical properties and manufacturing process of each plastic allows sheeting to be produced in a variety of forms specifically designed to fulfill both broad and narrow applications. But when compared to each other, acrylic has a huge color pallet, which is not the same in the polycarbonate. Batch cell and continuous bulk polymerization are the two methods used to create acrylic plastic sheets. If you are comparing to glass, acrylic has 10 times the impact resistance of glass. Both polycarbonate and acrylic are stronger and lighter than glass, but both scratch more easily. The obvious place to start is the chemical structures and raw materials that make up these incredible plastics. Using Acrylic. To help choose the right material for your sheet, rod, or tube, here are a few ideal applications for each plastic: Your one stop plastics center for any brand, any shape, any product. Even though each plastic can share the same form, they will function very differently. Acme has a proud heritage of customer service and reliability since 1943. Both acrylic and polycarbonate are clear plastic materials, so they are similar on several accounts, but differences exist between both of them. What is Acrylic Plastic and What is it Used For? However, there are a variety of ways that polycarbonate and acrylic can be formed, especially when creating plastic sheets with special qualities such as color, non-glare, anti-static, UV-filtering, and more. The molded acrylic sheets are then cured. Polycarbonate is sometimes called Lexan (trademarked name by GE Plastics) or Makrolon. Cleaning acrylic requires warm soapy water or an acrylic cleaner. Max September 23, 2019 153 Views. To begin the process, raw resin (polycarbonate pellets) is fed into an extruder and melted to the desired temperature. Acrylic has roughly 17 times the impact resistance. Without getting too bogged down by the technical details, polycarbonate is produced by the reaction between bisphenol A and phosgene COCl2. Polycarbonate is sometimes called Lexan (trademarked name by GE Plastics) or Makrolon. The molds are then cooled, opened, and the resulting acrylic plastic sheets are either immediately used or further processed to improve the overall quality of the final product. With superior resistance to discoloration, impact, and chemicals, acrylic plexiglass sheet is ideal for any application. Batch cell is the most common form of bulk polymerization because it is effective at making acrylic sheets in thicknesses from 0.06 to 6.0 inches and widths from 3 feet to several hundred feet. Polycarbonate is more flexible than acrylic, but will bend more under load bearing application. On the other hand, acrylic is made by synthesizing methyl methacrylate. Polycarbonate sheets can cost on average about 35% more than acrylic. Both acrylic and polycarbonate can be cleaned more naturally and comfortably using a microfiber or a piece of cloth made from 10% cotton. Light and clarity. Polycarb is more impact resisant but easier to scratch. Acrylic is marginally clearer than polycarbonate and the difference is negligible but the gap will widen if polycarbonate is allowed to yellow, as a result of sun-exposure. Using a process known as bulk polymerization, the monomer (methyl methacrylate) and the catalyst (typically organic peroxide) are poured into a mold, which is sealed and heated to produce the reaction that forms the acrylic plastic polymer. The continuous method of bulk polymerization is quicker and less labor intensive because this method is specifically used for creating acrylic plastic sheets with thinner thicknesses and smaller widths than batch cell can produce. Polycarbonate is a tough, transparent plastic material with outstanding strength, stiffness, and impact resistance. Today, a number of manufacturers create plexiglass acrylic products sold under brand names including Acrylite, Crylux, Lucite and Perspex. Product link URL Join Andy Joe Plastic Hero as he tests glass, acrylic and polycarbonate against the force of a baseball bat! The polycarbonate exhibits around 30 times more resistance to the force. Our expansive warehouse and manufacturing facility combined with experienced personnel assure that you receive the service and prices that you deserve. When it comes to producing polycarbonate sheets, however, the extrusion manufacturing process is most commonly utilized. Polycarbonate is far more impact resistant than acrylic but easier to scratch - polycarbonate is virtually unbreakable. The Applicational Benefits of Polycarbonate Sheets, Can be polished, both for scratches and clean edges, Less expensive than polycarbonate by as much as 35%, More flexible than acrylic; can be shaped at room temperature, Can be exposed to high temperatures and is non-flammable, Lighter in weight than comparable acrylic, More likely to crack during drilling or upon impact, More translucent than transparent as compared to acrylic. You could leave acrylic to soak up those rays for days, weeks, months, or even years on end. Because they have a similar look and are both a see-through plastic material for use in windows and similar applications, many customers lump them together. When comparing polycarbonate to acrylic material, polycarbonate is much more resilient than acrylic, making it ideal for highly demanding applications where impact is a requirement or flame retardance. The polycarbonate and acrylic both are available in different colors. The monomers of plastic are either natural or synthetic. Price of Acrylic vs. Polycarbonate. Acrylic Vs. Polycarbonate - Understanding The Differences. Acrylic sheet exhibits glass-like qualities — clarity, brilliance, and transparency — but at half the weight and many times the impact resistance of glass. Acrylic is a transparent plastic mаtеrіаl wіth outstanding strength, ѕtіffnеѕѕ, and орtісаl сlаrіtу. Once the polycarbonate sheets have been fabricated through the extrusion process, they can be further processed to achieve the desired final product. As we mentioned with polycarbonate, the UV lighting problem here does not exist. In particular, “Plexiglas” is used almost interchangeably with “acrylic plastic.” While each trademark product may have slightly different characteristics, they each form an acrylic plastic. When it comes to polycarbonate sheets vs. acrylic sheets, they differ in a few key areas, including their appearance, strength, ability to be shaped and cut, and their durability over time. Both plastics are resilient materials in comparison to its glass counterparts. Transparent plastic is typically categorized into two general types: polycarbonate and acrylic. Each of the two have benefits and drawbacks. As a result, polycarbonate and acrylic look, feel and act differently due to the specific kinds of molecules they’re made up of and how they’re put together. Cut-to-Size Clear Acrylic Sheet - Extruded, Cut-to-Size Fluorescent Color Acrylic Sheet - Cast. Contact us today and we will be happy to help you. Sheet grade polycarbonate (aka Lexan or Makrolon) and acrylic sheet (aka Lucite) are two of the most frequently used see-through plastics. Variety of Colors. Acrylic and polycarbonate sheeting have a number of differing characteristics. Choosing one over the other depends entirely on the specifics of your application. Acrylic sheeting, commonly referred to as plexiglass sheeting, is the most common alternative to traditional glass. This is then reacted with methyl alcohol to finally produce methyl methacrylate. When acrylic was created in the early 1900s, one of the products produced with it was registered under the name Plexiglas. The melted polycarbonate material is then forced through a die that is shaped to produce flat sheets of various lengths, widths, and thicknesses with uniform cross-sections. Polycarbonate can be processed and manufactured in a wide variety of ways, such as extrusion, injection molding, blow molding, thermoforming, and more. Acrylic has a high gloss finish and is more transparent, making it ideal for display cases. Continuous exposure of standard polycarbonate to sunlight will make it yellow though the sheets can be treated to give a UV-resistant product to minimise yellowing. When shopping for a basketball backboard you will discover many different materials that basketball backboards are made of. Our Polycarbonate sheet offers a level of safety that no other clear glazing material can match. While the form may be the same, you will find that a clear polycarbonate sheet and a clear acrylic sheet are vastly different due to the physical and chemical properties of the plastic. Acrylic is less expensive but easier to crack. The key difference between polycarbonate and acrylic is that polycarbonate is nearly unbreakable, whereas acrylic can be breakable if a higher force is applied. Polycarbonate and acrylic plastic are both polymers. Hammerglass® is another polycarbonate mainly used for security and against vandalism. It can withstand greater force against it. Acrylic vs. Polycarbonate Before deciding whether acrylic or polycarbonate best suits your machining needs, it is important to understand the differences between the two plastics materials. Acrylic is preferred when very clear, lightweight material is needed, or when a specific size or shape is required because it is easily formed without impacting visibility. Either acrylic or polycarbonate plastic can be used for a greenhouse. Polycarbonate is stronger than acrylic. Acrylic is marketed under many trademark names such as Plexiglas, Lucite, Perspex, Policril, Gavrieli, Vitroflex, Limacryl, R-Cast, Per-Clax, Plazcryl, Acrylex, Acrylite, Acrylplast, Altuglas, Polycast, Oroglass, Optix. Polycarbonate is more resistant to chemicals and can, therefore, be cleaned by harsher cleaners containing chemical compounds like ammonia. Have questions about acrylic or polycarbonate? Lexan and Plexiglas are not specific names to generalize Acrylic and Polycarbonate. During this process, the polycarbonate sheet can be produced with colors, high or low glosses, smooth or textured surfaces, and in single or multiple layers. Acrylic is shinier and polycarb is stronger. Polycarbonate vs. Acrylic for Greenhouses Glass has been a mainstay in greenhouse construction for centuries, but while its light transmitting properties are ideal for plant growth and natural indoor lighting, its performance as a durable construction material leaves a lot to be desired. Both have benefits and drawbacks. Below, we break down the pros and cons of each and provide some common applications for each type of plastic. That aside, both are very strong. These are the most common methods for creating these polymers. Polycarbonate is a synthetic resin in which the monomer units link with each other through carbonate linkages while Plexiglass is the trade … Acrylic is more rigid and can crack under extreme impact. Acrylic is less expensive than Polycarbonate. A polymer is simply a material made up of different molecules that are linked together in long chains. Acrylic is more scratch resistant than standard (9034) polycarbonate. 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