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Polycarbonate sheets are clear, impact-resistant sheets made from thermoplastic polymers that incorporate carbonate groups in their chemical structure. These polymers consist of plastic material, and you can use heat to alter their form. In short, polycarbonate sheets can be customized and shaped in a variety of ways, making them beneficial to many applications across manufacturing and in industry. 

Many people refer to polycarbonate sheets as Lexan® sheets, but this isn’t always the case. Lexan makes one variety of polycarbonate sheets, but this material exists in many shapes and forms to meet the needs of a wide range of applications.

What Are the Benefits of Polycarbonate Sheets?

Polycarbonate sheeting’s versatility makes it ideal for both domestic and professional settings. It’s lightweight and easy to handle, which allows for great results when in the hands of engineers or technicians that work to mold or form it. 

When cooled, polycarbonate sheeting produces a rigid plastic layer, protecting electronics and other sensitive applications without compromising the weight of products. Polycarbonate products can resist impacts and other hazards, protecting components from contamination and water damage. In the event a polycarbonate sheet happens to break or is tampered with, there is no danger of it shattering into shards or fragments, as other varieties of plastic might.

Key Properties

  • High impact strength and exceptional strength retention at elevated temperatures
  • High tensile, flexural, and shear strength
  • High modulus of elasticity
  • Low deformation under load
  • Optimal creep and cold flow resistance
  • Low coefficient of thermal expansion
  • Excellent electric insulation properties
  • Easy to fabricate and machine

Brand Names for Polycarbonate Sheet

  • Hyzod®
  • Lexan® 3412
  • Lexan® 3413
  • Lexan® 3414
  • Lexan® 500
  • Makrolon® GP
  • Susta® PC GF20
  • Tecanat™ GF20
  • TUFFAK® GP
  • TUFFAK® LD
  • TUFFAK® Marine 5
  • TUFFAK® OP
  • TUFFAK® VR
  • TUFFAK® WG
  • Unicar® RG

What Are Polycarbonate Sheets Used For?

Polycarbonate sheets are relied on for products and components across many industries. Some include:

Electrical

Many electrical accessories and hardware value polycarbonate sheets for their lightweight and impact-resistant qualities. Polycarbonate sheets protect everyday items like computers and cell phones from impact without greatly increasing their weight. Electronics manufacturers additionally prize polycarbonate sheeting’s safety and durability.

Glazing

While glass is the most traditional material used for glazing applications, plastic sheeting can also be used. The two most commonly used plastics for glazing are polycarbonate sheets and acrylic sheets. The benefits of using plastic sheeting vs. glass are lower costs, improved performance, and energy savings. Polycarbonate has superior impact resistance and shatter resistance – but is not naturally UV stable like acrylic. Some common materials used for glazing are Bullet-Resistant Polycarbonate, and Multiwall Polycarbonate.

Optical

Clear Polycarbonate is the ideal material for lenses and machine guards due to its optical characteristics and high mechanical strength.

Automotive

The automotive industry makes use of polycarbonate sheeting’s lightweight, flexibility, and heat resistance when building radiator flame broils, entryway handles, and various other automotive parts. Polycarbonate’s aesthetic properties also result in sleek, stylish vehicles.

Greenhouses and Nurseries

Greenhouses and plant nurseries incorporate polycarbonate panels or sheets into their design. Polycarbonate greenhouses protect plants from UV radiation while still allowing sunlight to filter through. This ability to use sunlight while masking its harmful properties makes polycarbonate the material of choice for research, domestic, and agricultural greenhouses.

Law Enforcement

Equipment like riot shields, prison windows, and protective visors may use polycarbonate. These products may consist of coated polycarbonate sheets with anti-scratch layers, resulting in durable materials that can withstand direct impacts, while also preserving their transparency. Additionally, their light weight makes polycarbonate equipment more versatile, allowing users to flexibly wield polycarbonate materials while preserving their equipment’s portability. Bullet resistant polycarbonate is commonly used as an alternative to bulletproof glass. Different levels of protection are available.

Learn More About Emco Plastics Polycarbonate Solutions

There are plenty of unique and practical uses for polycarbonate sheets that are sure to fit within a budget. The increased strength and protection, while being lightweight are additional benefits to this cost-effective solution.

Learn more about how Emco Plastics can assist in your next project. Contact us today and speak with a representative.

Emco Industrial Plastics doesn’t claim to represent all of the manufacturers or trade name products listed. This list is intended as a guide of typical materials available for purchase from Emco Industrial Plastics, Inc. For additional information, contact an Emco Industrial Plastics with the submission form below.

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At a Glance

Generic Name
Polycarbonate, General Purpose Sheet

Available In
Sheet, Rod

Certifications
MIL-P-19904

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Technical Information

Stock Products Properties Applications Advantages Grades

Stock Products

TypeSizeLengthColor
Sheet 1/4″ – 4″ TH Natural

Give us your cut-to-size dimensions. We will precision-cut these plastics to your exact size. Additional sizes and colors available upon request.

Properties

Physical PropertiesUnitsASTMResults
Density lb/in³ D792 0.0401 – 0.0567
Water Absorption, 24 hrs % D570 0.050 0 – 0.300
Mechanical PropertiesUnitsASTMResults
Tensile Strength psi D638 9.0 – 9.5
Tensile Elongation @Break % D638 1.00 – 6.00
Flexural Strength psi D790 13,800 – 29,000
Flexural Modulus psi 551,000 – 1,400,000
Compressive Strength psi D695 18000
Compressive Modulus psi D695 500000
Hardness, Rockwell R D785 115 – 123
IZOD Impact Strength Notched ft-lb/in D256 1.00 – 3.30
Thermal PropertiesUnitsASTMResults
Coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion (x 10-5 in./in./°F) D256 5.56 – 27.8
Heat Deflection Temp at 66 psi °F D648 210 – 306
Heat Deflection Temp at 264 psi °F 195 – 300
Melting Temperature °F D3418 210 – 331
Max Operating Temp °F 270
Thermal Conductivity BTU-in/ft²-hr-°F C177 1.53 – 2.20
Flammability Rating UL94 HB – 5VA
Electrical PropertiesUnitsASTMResults
Dielectric Strength. 1/8″ th. V/mil D149 470
Dielectric Constant D150 3.35
Dissipation Factor @ 60 Hz D150 0.0011
Volume Resistivity ohm-cm D257 10¹⁶

Applications

  • Housings and covers
  • Impact shields
  • Fluid handling components
  • Scientific equipment and housing components
  • Electrical components
  • Manifolds

Advantages

  • High impact strength
  • Low moisture absorption
  • Easy to machine, fabricate, paint, and glue
  • Transparent
  • Excellent flammability rating
  • Good Optical clarity

Grades

  • Machine Grade
  • Optical Grade
  • Static Contro
  • Glass Filled
  • Flame Retardant
  • Bullet Resistant

NOTE: Several grades of this material are available. For additional information regarding this plastic, contact your Emco Industrial Plastics representative or call 973-862-4148.

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