Polycarbonate - What is it Used For?
Polycarbonate plastic has many uses across a variety of industries, with versatile applications and effective results. We’ve seen the benefits of polycarbonate, as well as acrylic which is a similar material often compared with polycarbonate and we look at polycarbonate vs acrylic to discuss the benefits of each but let’s look at how polycarbonate is used and incorporated into various projects.
Polycarbonate is no doubt one of the stronger materials used in manufacturing and in fact is 250x stronger than glass, offering a durable and tough option for building projects. You probably see polycarbonate material everywhere, every day but you just don’t realise, as it’s use has become widespread in many disciplines, the most popular of course, being the building trade.
Due to its strength, it’s no wonder that polycarbonate is used for safety panelling, in applications such as protective screens, vandal-proof windows and armoured vehicles for military and police. It’s used for many DIY projects and is extremely versatile for most building projects, requiring an alternative to glass and where longevity and performance is important. For example, the physical strength and durability is so effective that it’s considered the best alternative by many, over standard glass. Its ability to diffuse light and use coloured panelling to create different effects make it unique. It also enables a form of temperature control, even in direct sunlight, making it an energy efficient aid in the property.
- Medical equipment (cameras, lenses, medical aids etc.)
- Protective eye-wear including safety goggles for factory workers
- Media discs, including Blu rays, DVDs and CDs
- Kitchen panelling for cupboards and hard wearing industrial kitchen spaces
- Armoured vehicles and bullet resistant panels
- Lightweight luggage
- Telecommunications hardware
- Windscreens in small vehicles
These are just some of the applications polycarbonate is used for but the sheer number of possible uses is staggering when you consider the industries it is used in.
With the medical profession alone, it can be applied to machinery casings as well as the lenses and cameras used within that equipment, as well as lighting equipment, scanners, digital appliances used for monitoring and accessory equipment including injection stopcocks and applications for IV line equipment. The possibilities are endless.
Day to Day Products
We may not even notice that many products we use everyday contain polycarbonate but although many items use light plastics and cheap plastics, there are some which are utilising this incredibly strong and tensile plastic. Some of these include luggage cases, bike frames, car roofs, tailgates, bottles, swimming pool enclosures, ski goggles and LED lighting. It's become the plastic of choice as a durable and strong alternative to other materials for consumer products.
The building industry uses polycarbonate due to its benefits over glass but the key advantages include the ability to act as a glass alternative, by diffusing light and filtering light through in various colours. It can also be used to maintain and modify heat through temperature control by absorbing heat (resulting in slightly cooler rooms even in direct sunlight).
The shatterproof nature of polycarbonate means its ideal for roofing but also perfect for garden sheds and greenhouses in particular. We’ve also seen more use of polycarbonate in garden properties because of its contribution towards reducing greenhouse emissions.
The world of technology is expanding all the time and there is a big push particularly in light of companies becoming more eco-friendly towards efficient plastics and durable materials which help with reducing carbon emissions. Although this is one element of polycarbonate, in relation to greenhouses and garden projects, there are many technology products which utilise the benefits of polycarbonate, including mobile phones, the latest in media and medical equipment, as well as computer scanners, high tech automotive designs and many more. Ultimately, it’s considered a durable, versatile efficient material which can enhance any products build its used in and that’s why many brands incorporate it into their designs.