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.
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.