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Polycarbonate vs Acrylic

We’ve seen how polycarbonate is used and the many applications it’s used in but as with any building or production material, there is always an alternative. Acrylic is known as one of the closest materials to polycarbonate and the two are often compared, however, the question is, what are the benefits of one over the other and is one simply a better option? They are both similar plastics in terms of some of the applications they are used for but with different properties they are more unique than you may think. They are both stronger than glass, stronger than most other materials used across a variety of projects and they both have great resistance properties.

Polycarbonate Plastic Sheets

Polycarbonate is used for a multitude of applications including shed windows, roof panelling and protective sheeting. The reason for this has to be because it is 30 times the resistance of glass, making it a great alternative, offering strength, clarity and protection from the elements. It’s also better for drilling directly than acrylic, offering almost 99% of the time no damage to the material from direct drilling. For all their differences however, they are ideal for various applications. For instance, polycarbonate or acrylic for greenhouses are both perfect for durability and clarity, especially for the outdoor conditions.

 

So what are some of the key benefits to polycarbonate?

  • It’s easy to machine
  • It’s strong and stiff
  • It’s easy to fabricate
  • It’s easy to bond Up to 30 times the resistance of glass
  • Stronger than most alternatives whilst offering clarity and visibility

 

With so many benefits, what is polycarbonate plastic actually used for?

  • Electrical insulation
  • Indoor and outdoor signs
  • Skylights
  • Face Shields
  • Architectural glazing
  • POP displays and graphic holders
  • Helicopter windows
  • Small vehicle protective panelling

 

Acrylic Sheets Cut to Size

Acrylic is a great alternative to polycarbonate and in many ways offers a similar but more advanced experience, depending on your needs. The benefits listed above for polycarbonate are a strong selling point however, Acrylic offers even more in the way of flexibility and choice.

Acrylic is technically easier to cut with electric tools offering a tough plastic which is half the weight of glass, providing a transparent appearance with a larger choice of colours which polycarbonate doesn’t offer. Applications are more varied with acrylic simply because of it’s clarity over polycarbonate and colour options available, including bath enclosures, skylights, furniture, and windows for all types of properties. It is shatter resistant and therefore offers greater protection than even polycarbonate for products such as security barriers and safety enclosures.

It’s especially useful for sporting events and enclosures because of the clarity it offers across a wide range of colours and the long lasting elements which prevent staining and yellowing over time.

 

So what are the benefits of acrylic?

  • Weather resistant
  • Retains colour and clarity
  • Light refraction
  • Half the weight of glass
  • It helps increase light through skylights and window panelling
  • It can be easily shaped and molded
  • It is perfect for machine drilling or sawing
  • Shatter resistant
  • Highly durable