Polycarbonate sheet material is used frequently for shields, guards, and containment barriers.
It can be cold or heat bent to most configurations. A popular material manufactured by several companies: Lexan® by SABIC, Tuffak® by Plaskolite (formerly Makrolon® by Covestro), Zelux® by Westlake, Unicar® by Nytef Div of Polymer, Ensicar® by Ensinger, Cyrolon®, Polygal®, Plazit®, Tuffak® GP, Paltuf®, Texin®.
Today, there are numerous versions of these Polycarbonate resins, produced by a dozen different resin manufacturers; however Lexan® and Makrolon® still lead the field.
In addition to the large number of resin manufacturers, there are also dozens of extruders that can produce the Polycarbonate in Sheet or rod.
The leaders are Tuffak Plaskolite (formerly Covestro), SABIC Lexan and Plazit Polygal. All three have extrusion equipment in the USA and produce high clarity and high quality Polycarbonate sheet.
Some of the leaders in the Thick Plate and Rod extrusion are Ensinger, Westlake, Rochling, Polymer and Gehr Plastics.
Polycarbonate sheet is a common material for a variety of glazing applications, impact resistant shields and formed parts. Polycarbonate Sheet and Rod are generally produced from plastic resin produced by two main plastic resin manufacturers:
The general purpose Polycarbonate resins are about the same as they were when they were first invented. The research on this resin started in 1898, but was first perfected by Bayer in Germany and was patented and registered in 1955. Amazingly, one week after the first invention by Bayer, Daniel Fox at General Electric in New York, independently synthesized a branched Polycarbonate resin.
Both companies filed for US Patents in 1955, and agreed that the company lacking priority would be granted a license to the technology. The patent was resolved in Bayer’s favor and Bayer began commercial production under the trade name Makrolon® in 1958.
GE Plastics began production under the Lexan® trade in 1960.
Polycarbonate is ITAR compliant, and Polycarbonate is RoHS compliant.
Tuffak® (formerly Makrolon® GP) – General Purpose Polycarbonate Sheet
~ UV Stable and Excellent for high impact and glazing applications
Tuffak® (formerly Makrolon® GP-V) – UL rated General Purpose Polycarbonate Sheet
~ UV Stabilized and UL 94 V-2 at .060” thickness, UL 94 V-0 at .220” thickness
These properties are for evaluation purposes only. This information is not to be construed as a warranty, guarantee or assurance that you may achieve the same results. Materials made from different resin types, manufacturing techniques and manufacturers will react differently. The information should be used to compare against other materials only, and each user should make his own tests to determine suitability. No warranty as to this materials suitability are either expressed nor implied.
People in the plastics industry have known for over 50 years that Polycarbonate Sheets are tough. This clear plastic sheet material is commonly used to replace window glazing. The best known property for this polycarbonate sheet material is that it is break resistant, or in many cases, considered unbreakable. This is a great benefit for areas where window glass is broken easily.
Recently some cities have passed ordinances to change out the plywood window coverings on abandoned homes, and they are installing clear polycarbonate sheets instead. This is a very attractive replacement, and is a big step in fighting the blight of abandoned homes.
Polycarbonate is produced under several trade names, including Plaskolite Tuffak® GP, Covestro Makrolon®, SABIC Lexan®, Cyrolon®, Zelux® and many more. These materials are available in sheets, plate, slab, bar and rod.
Read more on this material below.
Excerpt from AZCentral, The Arizona Republic:
Property owners and banks in Phoenix had begun outfitting windows with sheets of polycarbonate, a thin, nearly indestructible plastic that mirrors the appearance of glass.
And last month, the city became among the first in the U.S. to make polycarbonate windows a matter of municipal law.
Phoenix now requires all window and door openings visible from the street to be secured with the material if the structure has been unoccupied for more than 90 days. The 90-day provision is also new, replacing the previous deadline of 180 days. The measures were the result of an abandoned buildings task force that Gallego spearheaded.
No one likes living next to abandoned buildings with boarded up doors or windows. So the city of Durham started replacing the plywood eyesores with a clear, durable plastic.
The city is working to reduce the number of abandoned houses by helping owners fix them up. But for houses that still need boarding up, the city has found that plastic not only improves the overall appearance of a neighborhood, it may reduce crime by discouraging squatters and making it easier for police to see inside vacant buildings.
“I can’t stress enough how the elimination of the boards has a tremendous positive impact on neighborhoods and communities,” said Faith Gardner, housing code administrator of the city’s department of neighborhood improvement services.
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/durham-county/article20778429.html#storylink=cpy
These communities have fought back against vandalism and crime, as well as enhanced the value of local homes by changing from Plywood to Clear Polycarbonate Sheets. Tuffak GP is a super tough glazing grade clear Polycarbonate Sheet material is the same kind of material that Police Officers use for face shields and banks are using for bullet resistant glazing.
The premier manufacturer of Polycarbonate Sheet in the USA is Tuffak® PG made by Plaskolite and made from Covestro® (formerly Bayer MaterialScience) resins, and they produce Tuffak® GP Polycarbonate Sheet. Polycarbonate is also available in rod and thick plate for machined parts.
Consider using Polycarbonate sheet for your next glazing material.
What is the Strongest Plastic – Polycarbonate Sheet?
Many plastics are durable and have good impact strength. Acetal Copolymer – Acetal Homopolymer for example is a very durable and strong material, but compared to some other materials the impact strength is lower. The Acetal is the best machining plastic around, it is used to make long lasting and good wearing parts for machines. Another great plastic that holds up to wear and tear is UHMW. With its high molecular weight and low friction resistance is ideal to take abuse over long periods of time.
However, one of the strongest materials in the plastic family is Polycarbonate. Commonly referred to Lexan® (SABIC) or Makrolon® (Bayer) Polycarbonate Sheets; Polycarbonate is by far one of the strongest (highest impact resistant) plastic materials, and is warranted against breakage. With its high impact strength, it is ideal for jobs were the ability to absorb abuse is a factor and in some cases may even need to save lives. A common material for high impact is Polycarbonate Sheet and Plate, but amazingly also Polycarbonate Rod.
Polycarbonate Sheets considered ‘unbreakable’.
Polycarbonate sheet is a valuable plastic due to its impact strength, temperature resistance and wide range of uses. It is commonly confused with Acrylic or Plexiglass which has similar properties but Polycarbonate is 25 times stronger and has a wider temperature range. Acrylic is better used for display purposes and is a brittle material. Polycarbonate is so strong that you can drill or hammer a nail right through it without breaking the material. It also can undergo large deformations without breaking while Acrylic cannot. Polycarbonate also can be used for electrical applications because it is a great insulator. It also has great safety properties due to it being flame retardant and because it has good heat resistance. Another way Polycarbonate exhibits its safety properties is through bullet resistant glass. Polycarbonate is the most commonly used material for bullet resistant glass, riot shields and face masks. In these situations, the Polycarbonate has a very high impact strength which is invaluable. It protects and saves lives and is able to stand up to abuse in dangerous situations.
Polycarbonate Has Many Uses
From audio CDs to Blu-ray discs, airplane canopies to protective eye gear, Polycarbonate is a great thermoplastic (a material that can be formed and returned to its original shape) material for many different applications. Because of its impact strength and wide range of uses, Polycarbonate makes an ideal material for those who need peace of mind when designing or fabricating and need it to hold up to abuse and be virtually unbreakable. Polycarbonate is one of the toughest plastic materials around and everyday new products are being made from it. Whether using it for electrical, optical or for its impact properties, Polycarbonate is an ideal choice for many plastic needs.
Polycarbonate sheet (Makrolon) is available from .032″ – .500″ thick
Polycarbonate Plate, Slab, Block is available up to 4.0″ thick
Polycarbonate Rods are available from .250″ – over 8″ diameter.
Not all Polycarbonate Sheet or Plate meet all approval ratings. Zelux Polycarbonate Plate is available in a machine grade and an optical grade. Zelux Polycarbonate Rod is also available – as a machine grade rod – not optical.
Typical Polycarbonate Resin Properties:
Tensile Strength Yield
8,900 – 9,000
Izod Impact – Notched
Hardness – Rockwell
Deflection Temp @ 264psi
Deflection Temp @ 66 psi
Co. Thermal Expansion
We stock a large variety of thickness and sheet sizes in Makrolon GP sheet. For more information on this or other plastic sheets, please call us at 866-832-9315 or click here to contact us.
Some of our most popular questions are “Is this material UV stable”, or “How long will this last in direct sunlight”, or something similar. These are great questions. Just look at the ‘cheap’ backyard furniture you bought last year, yep, it is faded and cracking. Why is that?
The quick answer is the material had either no UV (Ultra Violet Light) stabilizer or very little. Most plastic materials are not UV stable to start with, other than Acrylic which is invisible to UV. All other materials need a little something to give it the protection it may need from the sun. Many plastic materials, if given the proper additives, can be used in direct sunlight for 10 – 15 years giving excellent performance.
The first factor in picking such a material is the intended use. Not all materials are good candidates for all applications.While some materials will perform very well, others under the same conditions will fail. Please contact us for details on a material to meet your needs. HDPE sheet is one of the best materials for long term outdoor use, if given the proper additives. Next time you drive by a children’s playground in your local city, look at the brightly colored panels used to make the play equipment. This is a HDPE sheet with heavy UV additives, and this makes an excellent application. Available in a rainbow of colors and able to be fabricated easily, this material is excellent for many outdoor applications. If your application is more mechanical, other materials that might be used would be: Polycarbonate, UHMW, ABS (especially with Korad cover), Acetal, Noryl and many more. Our standard Covestro Makrolon Polycarbonate is a UV stable material in sheet, and is frequently used in replacement glazing applications. The remaining materials on the list are available in Black (a carbon black pigment) which extends outdoor usage. While still not recommended for direct sunlight, they can be used with a good possibility of success – depending on design. Plastics can become brittle or lose properties over time if material does not have UV stabilization, with the proper material and the proper additives, you can get years of trouble free service.