Polycarbonate and lucite are grouped under different types of plastic. Despite these items being referred to as plastics, they have different characteristics. They are most times compared to each other due to their similarities in appearance and the fact that they are the most common see-through plastics you can find in the market.

One of the important points you should know is that polycarbonate sheets have more high tensile strengths, while lucite sheets, also known as acrylic, are shinier. However, when compared to other materials like glass, both plastic materials weigh way less than half but provide more strength than glass. Besides, they are easy to clean as well.

To begin with, we will discuss the unique features of polycarbonate and lucite before proceeding to contrast them.

What Makes Up These Plastics?

Polycarbonate and lucite plastics are regarded as polymers. What does this term mean? Polymers are materials that are constructed from various molecules which are connected together in long chains. Hence, based on the molecules that make up these materials and their structures, polycarbonate and lucite act, look, and feel different. The process involved in creating these polymers is referred to as polymerization.

What properties make up these plastic materials? When phosgene COCL2 is combined with bisphenol A, the reaction generated is used to create polycarbonate. On the other hand, acetone cyanohydrin is produced by the reaction generated when acetone is combined with sodium cyanide. Acetone cyanohydrin is reacted with methyl alcohol, also known as methanol, to produce methyl methacrylate.

Types Of Polycarbonate And Lucite Plastic Sheets

Due to the unique properties, these polymers possess and the various manufacturing processes they undergo, they are produced in different forms designed to meet various applications. We will take a look at some of the different types of polycarbonate and lucite plastic sheets:

Polycarbonate plastic sheets are available in clear, coloured, mirrored, tinted, abrasion-resistant, bulletproof, flame retardant, multiwall, FDA approved, and anti-static. Conversely, the types of lucite (acrylic) sheets include clear, coloured and fluorescent, light-diffusing, bullet resistant, mirrored, abrasion-resistant, black and white, block, anti-static and non-glare, and UV filtering and transmitting.

Depending on what application would be needed, you can choose either polycarbonate or lucite plastic sheets. This brings us to their various uses.

The Applications Of Polycarbonate And Lucite Plastic Sheets

There are several applications polycarbonate and lucite materials provide in various industries. Polycarbonate plastics are used to manufacture skylights, safety and vandal-resistant windows, outdoor signs, windshields, diffusers and light pipes for LEDs, electronic components, machinery guards, construction materials, reusable drinking bottles, data storage, football and hockey helmet visors, and many more.

On the other hand, lucite plastics can be applied to manufacture signage, furniture, accent walls, point-of-purchase (POP) displays, the interior layer of storm window linings, light covers, residential and commercial aquariums, spectator protection for ice hockey rinks, animal and reptile enclosure, riot control shields, medical technologies and implants.

How Do They Differ From Each Other

In this section, we will compare some of the unique qualities of both Polycarbonate and lucite plastic sheets.

Polycarbonate

  • Polycarbonate, also known as Makrolon or Lexan, is 30 times stronger than acrylic and has a resistance that is 250 times greater than glass.
  • It is able to transmit light by up to 88%.
  • Polycarbonate plastics have more flexibility and are available in different grades.
  • This polymer can be used even in temperatures of 240°F.
  • The level of flammability is low.
  • It is highly durable which makes it resistant to cracks and chips.
  • It can not be damaged by acid and other chemicals.
  • You can drill the material without worrying about cracks.
  • Polycarbonate sheets can be formed and bent without the application of heat.
  • Width varies from 38” to 75”, while the length varies 78” to 150”.

Lucite

  • Lucite sheets are not as expensive as polycarbonate and glass.
  • It has a resistance 17 times greater than glass.
  • This polymer has one of the highest clarity, being able to transmit light by up to 92%.
  • Resistant to discolouration.
  • Works in temperatures of 180°F.
  • It can be polished to give a shiny look.
  • Provides durability against dents and scratches.
  • Easy to cut and bend with heat.
  • Available in various colours.
  • It can be recycled.
  • Width varies from 48” to 108”, while the length varies from 72” to 192”.

You can find out more about polycarbonate and lucite by visiting this link: https://www.regal-plastics.com/blog/acrylicvspolycarbonate/.

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