Polycarbonate is a dimensionally stable, transparent thermoplastic with a structure that allows for outstanding impact resistance. With high-performance properties, Polycarbonate is the leading plastic material for various applications that demand high functioning temperatures and safety features. Because of its durable make-up, polycarbonate is often the preferred thermoplastic over materials like PMMA and Acrylic. Polycarbonates are unique in its working temperatures and ability to experience minimal degradation between heating and cooling points. Polycarbonate features a high working temperature of 266 degrees Fahrenheit and cooling temperatures at -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Features of Polycarbonate
Excellent Impact Resistance
Minimal degradation between repetitive melting and cooling points
Can be coated with a scratch resistant protection layer
Popular uses of polycarbonate can include aircraft parts, data storage devices, dome lights, eye protection, multiwall sheets, electronic components and more. Due to polycarbonates ability to withstand extreme temperatures for prolonged periods of time, it is often used in components for various industries, including:
Aircrafts and Aerospace Components
Greenhouses and Agriculture
Frequently Asked Questions about Polycarbonate
Is it true that polycarbonate can't be broken and is indestructible?
No product, including polycarbonate, is indestructible. However, polycarbonate offers the highest impact strength available in a transparent thermoplastic. To optimize the properties of polycarbonate, be sure to design, fabricate and apply the product according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Is Makrolon® the same as Lexan®?
Makrolon® and Lexan® are both tradenames for polycarbonate resin and sheet. Makrolon® is the tradename used by Bayer and Sheffield Plastics for polycarbonate material and Lexan® is used by General Electric for their polycarbonate material.
How do I clean polycarbonate sheet?
The best way to clean polycarbonate sheet is using mild soap and water and a soft cloth, followed by a lukewarm water rinse.
What's the best product to use for glass replacement in full view doors that are constantly broken?
Because of the heavy traffic through business entrances, abrasion resistant polycarbonate is your best bet.
How do I cut polycarbonate sheet?
Polycarbonate sheet can be cut using conventional carpentry tools. Always use proper safety equipment when working with any power tools. For best results, be sure to use sharp cutting tools and minimize vibration of the material.
How do I bond two pieces of polycarbonate together?
Polycarbonate material can be bonded using several techniques including solvent bonding, adhesive bonding or mechanical fastening.
I notice that lubricating oils are not recommended for polycarbonate. How do I keep the heat down during extensive machining operations?
Many machinists use a water spray. However, some find it not normally necessary due to the higher heat resistance of polycarbonate.
What is the best coolant to use on polycarbonate when machining a close tolerance part?
The recommended coolant is pure water. When close tolerances are required, you need to perform the machining in steps so that you do not add stress and movement within the part. You need to anneal/stress relieve after each step of machining.
Polycarbonate seems pretty flexible - can I utilize that flexibility in my design?
That flexibility is an inherent property that is used in many building and industrial designs. Polycarbonate can be cold-bent or “flexed” 180 times its thickness. Make sure that once bent, the material is securely held in place with the framing material.
I've tried in the past to heat form polycarbonate and have noticed that tiny bubbles appear all over the material. Can you help?
The bubbles you are experiencing is caused by water vapor boiling in the sheet. Polycarbonate must be dried prior to heat forming. Generally, four hours of drying at 250°F is sufficient to remove any water vapor present in the product.
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