Acrylic vs. Polycarbonate: A quantitative and qualitative comparison
Acrylic often compared to Polycarbonate, which is an other transparent plastic, that is sometimes used for bearing loads. Polycarbonate is sometimes called Lexan®, which is a trademark by GE Plastics. An other popular brand name for Polycarbonate is Makrolon®, owned by Bayer. Acrylic on the other hand is often called Plexiglas. Plexiglas ® is a trademark by Roehm and Hass.
Popular Uses for Acrylic (Plexiglas):
- Motorcycle helmet visors
- Helicopter Windows, Submarine Windows
- Spectator protection in ice hockey
- Police riot control vehicles modifications
- Swimming Pool Windows
- Aquariums and Terariums (including large public aquarium walls and tunnels)
Popular Uses for Polycarbonate (Lexan):
- Compact discs, DVDs
- Lighting lenses, sun-glass/eyeglass lenses, safety glasses, automotive headlamp lenses
- Drinking bottles
- Computers: Apple, Inc.s MacBook, iMac, and Mac mini
- Riot shields, visors
- Instrument panels
- Bullet-proof Glass
Key characteristics, Acrylic compared to Polycarbonate:
- More likely to chip, less impact resistance then Polycarbonate. (still 10-24 times more resistant than float glass)
- Less likely to scratch.
- Does NOT yellow after time.
- Better clarity. Acrylic can be restored to optical clarity by polishing.
Key characteristics, Polycarbonate compared to Acrylic:
- Impact/chip resistance is much higher with Polycarbonate. (about 30 times more resistant than glass)
- More likely to scratch.
- Substantially more expensive. (roughly 2 to 3 times)
- Used for more industry applications
- Bulletproof when thick enough.
- More bendable under normal temperatures (0-20°C)
- Yellows over time due to ultraviolet rays
- Easier to work with (cut, less likely to break)
- Poorer clarity, diffuses light, can lighten (could be positive).
Polycarbonate under stress - a broken CD
||Polycarbonate - Lexan
||Acrylic - Plexiglas GS
|Max weight gain during immersion
|Tensile strength σΜ at 23°C
|Flexural strength σbB
|Impact strength acU (Charpy)
|Flexural strength σbB
|Optical Light Transmission
|Vicat B Temperature
|Velocity of Sound
|Attenuation at 5MHz
||German DIN 4102
Lexan 9030 Sheet Product Datasheet
Plexiglas GS Product Description
(*2): Makrolon AR - Bayer Sheet Europe, October 2004