Polycarbonate is a transparent plastic, with glass like clarity but much, much stronger than glass. It was discovered in 1953, by Dr. H. Schnell at Bayer AG, Germany and by D.W. Fox, General Electric Company, USA.
Lexan® is the brandname we most often stock. Other names are: Calibre®, Makrolife®, Makrolon®, Tuffak®, Hyzodand® and Panlite®.
Polycarbonate is extremely durable, approximately 250 times stronger and six times lighter than glass and 30 times stronger than acrylic, but it is less resistant to scratches and weathering than acrylic. Polycarbonate that is 1/4 inch thick will meet the security and safety requirements, in commercial applications, of windows and doors.
At temperatures above 140°F or 60°C, degrading of the product may occur. Degradation of plastics depends on time and temperature. There have been substantial improvements over the last few years and it doesn’t yellow as quickly as it has in the past.
We stock Polycarbonate in 1/16, 1/8, 3/16, and ¼ inch thicknesses.
Should you need a thickness or size we don’t stock, we will order it for you.
Handling and Care
All Acrylic and Polycarbonates have a masking – a paper or plastic protective covering – on both sides to protect the surfaces from scratches during storage and handling. Leave this masking on during all stages of installation and fabrication. Except for delicate work the masking should only be removed when the project is completed. Roll the masking back about ½ of an inch to allow for work on the edges. Then completely remove all masking once the project is complete.
A simple way to remove the masking is to roll it off by wrapping it on a boom handle or a sturdy cardboard tube.
The moment the masking is removed, static electricity will attract dust. We carry an anti static product which prevents dust from adhering to the surface. This reduces how often it needs to be cleaned, thereby reducing the potential for scratching. It is an excellent product that will clean, polish and protect both acrylic and polycarbonate.
Before cleaning or polishing make sure the surface is free from any grime that could scratch the surface when it is rubbed.
Minor scratches may be buffed out using a product called “Plastic Cleaner and Polish.” There isn’t any product on the market that will restore a heavily scratched surface on acrylic or polycarbonate.
Never use bleach, ammonia based window cleaning fluids, strong solvents such as gasoline, denatured alcohol, carbon tetrachloride, or acetone. A mild solution of dish detergent and water is sufficient to clean all acrylic and polycarbonate.
Polycarbonate can be mechanically bonded by standard methods. It can be cemented by using a solvent such as methylene chloride or adhesives such as epoxy, urethane and silicone. Polycarbonate can also be ultrasonically or vibrationally welded.
Charlottesville Glass and Mirror stocks Acrylic Cement #33 an excellant adhesive for acrylic and polycarbonates.