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.
Which Plastic Sheet or Rod Material is right for me?
Mechanical Acetal Sheet
This not an easy question to answer. Several different factors come into play when choosing the right plastic for your application. Temperature, strength, exposure to the elements and even time spent at elevated temperatures are just a few factors to consider when choosing the right plastic for a particular project or job.
Picking the right plastic for your application is critical for its success and longevity and needed to insure that the material doesn’t fail in critical situations. From the onset it may take a bit of time to choose the right plastic material, but will ultimately pay off in the long run. Simply choosing the cheapest plastic sheet or rod may spell disaster for your project.
Many plastics are resistant to chemical attacks. Some plastics however are not. Two examples of plastic that have low resistance to chemicals are Acetal Copolymer and Nylon. Acetal and Nylon are both a great machining plastics with excellent wear resistance and impact strength. However, when exposed to chlorine or alkaline they tend to become brittle which can cause failure and if used in such instances as plumbing, can lead to major problems such as flooding. Nylon does have good resistance to many chemicals but will degrade when exposed to acids especially sulfuric. A plastic that would work better for applications involving the use of chlorine or acids is UHMW. UHMW has some of the same properties as Acetal such as wear resistance, ease of machining and are both self lubricating. UHMW often is an alternative for Acetal and Nylon, especially when it comes to chemical attacks.
Many plastic sheet and rod materials to choose from
Another plastic that can fail if used in the wrong application is Acrylic. Acrylic is a great plastic for displays and decorative purposes and is a natural replacement for window glass. However, it is brittle and has very low impact strength as opposed to Polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is a great plastic for impact strength, probably the best in the plastic family. It is 25 times stronger than
Massive Selection of Performance Plastic Rod
Acrylic and this makes it ideal for bullet resistant glass and riot shields, while Acrylic would be useless for those critical jobs. However, Acrylic has better U.V. resistance than Polycarbonate Plastic Sheet which makes it better for use outdoors over longer periods of time because it is invisible to sunlight. Another plastic that cannot handle U.V. rays is Polypropylene. Polypropylene unlike Acetal has excellent chemical and moisture resistance. However, unlike Acrylic, it becomes brittle in sunlight and starts to craze or crack when exposed over a period of time while Acrylic would last many years longer. Even though Polypropylene is a very rigid and stiff material, with good impact and crack resistance, if exposed to the elements for a period of time, it will not retain its properties and a chemical chain reaction will cause the material to eventually fail. Polypropylene is great at handling chemicals and food applications which neither Acrylic nor Polycarbonate Sheet are well suited because for this application, because they don’t have good chemical resistance and the standard grades are not approved for handling food.
These are just some examples of the differences between plastic resins and it is important to note that just because one plastic works for one application, it may not work for another. All factors must be considered and taken into account, maybe even some trial and error. This will insure that your project will go smoothly and will be able to last through many years of use, saving time, money and patience.
Contact us for more examples of materials and the differences between specific items. Also, we have a great tool to help you in choosing the proper plastic material for your application, check out our free Plastic Material Selector Guide. We would also welcome your email inquiries or call us at: 866-832-9315.