Polycarbonate Vs Acrylic Plastic: Which One Is the Best for Your Application?
Updated: Dec 11, 2020
Plastic has gained popularity over metal and other materials due to its distinct advantages and price points. Today, various types of plastics are used for making daily use, commercial, and industrial products. Polycarbonate and acrylic are two types of plastics extensively used for making products across various industries. Although these two types of plastic material offer a very different range of properties, it cannot be denied that these materials are often considered & compared during design, development and production. There is a vast range of specifications, characteristics and performance criteria uniquely ingrained in both acrylic and polycarbonate. Therefore, when it comes to the selection of polycarbonate vs acrylic, the task becomes difficult. Generally, the material selection process involves two important considerations that are product requirements and material properties. The same goes for the material selection of plastic products. To choose between polycarbonate and acrylic, the plastic product requirements and properties of these materials must be known. This post will help you understand the difference between polycarbonate and acrylic in terms of properties and applications.
Difference between Polycarbonate and Acrylic- In Terms Of Properties
Let us discuss the properties of polycarbonate against the properties of acrylic.
1. Properties of Polycarbonate
The polycarbonate plastic material offers higher mechanical strength than acrylic.
Polycarbonate sheets can be shaped at room temperature due to higher flexibility than acrylic sheets.
Unlike acrylic, polycarbonate is non-flammable, therefore can be exposed to high temperatures.
Polycarbonate can withstand chemical exposure as it offers comparatively higher chemical resistance.
Unlike acrylic, polycarbonate sheets can be drilled without damage due to crack resistance.
Polycarbonate is lighter than acrylic plastic.
2. Properties of Acrylic
Acrylic offers higher and easier machinability as compared to polycarbonate.
Unlike polycarbonate, acrylic can be surface machined and polished to remove scratches or sharp edges.
Acrylic can be bonded or fused due to higher bonding property.
Acrylic offers higher transparency than polycarbonates.
Acrylic is less expensive as compared to polycarbonate.
Both materials can be formed. However, Acrylic is easier to form than polycarbonate. As of now, the properties of polycarbonate vs acrylic are discussed. The next section will help you understand their applications.
Difference between Polycarbonate and Acrylic- In Terms Of Applications
Let us discuss the applications for which the polycarbonate and acrylic plastic materials are suited for.
1. Applications of Polycarbonate
Polycarbonate can be chosen for the following applications.
Automotive windshields: Due to its translucent nature, the polycarbonates are used for manufacturing automotive windshields.
Vandal-resistant/bullet-resistant glass: Due to high strength and impact resistance, polycarbonate plastic is used in bullet-resistant glass manufacturing.
High-temperature equipment: Polycarbonate can easily withstand high temperatures, therefore they are used for equipment like solar devices, roofing panels, etc.
2. Applications of Acrylic
Owing to a wide range of beneficial properties acrylic is often chosen for the following applications.
Accent walls and windows: Owing to its properties like transparency, coloration compatibility, UV filtration, etc, acrylic is used for accent walls, and windows.
Furniture and signage: White acrylic and colored acrylic are used for furniture, artifacts, and signage, as they possess shiny, attractive, and polished appearance and assure immense load endurance.
Restaurant and Medical equipment: Acrylic is an FDA approved material, therefore it is used in restaurants and medical equipment.
Insulation: Acrylic is a non-conductive material, therefore is used for manufacturing insulation mats, insulation seals, etc.
Although the list of applications for polycarbonate and acrylic is endless, it is important to choose the material for these applications after considering all the required properties.
Therefore, along with material properties and application needs, the availability and compatibility of manufacturing processes, production parameters, etc also make a considerable impact on the selection of polycarbonate vs acrylic for plastic production.
Now that the material selection considerations for polycarbonate and acrylic are discussed, it is important that you approach trusted plastic manufacturing services for machining them. Ehren-Haus has the mechanical capabilities expertise and experiences to make your need come alive with either acrylic or polycarbonate. Lets talk about what the end use will be! Ehren-Haus is a well-recognized plastic product manufacturer in South Carolina. The company has been offering acrylic plastic sheet fabrication and polycarbonate plastic manufacturing services for over 35 years. You can certainly get prominent services at their facility.