Acrylic VS Polycarbonate
A Quantitative and Qualitative Comparison
Acrylic is often compared to polycarbonate, another transparent polymer sometimes used for bearing loads. Polycarbonate is sometimes called Lexan®, which is a trademark by Sabic. Another popular brand name for Polycarbonate is Makrolon®, owned by Bayer. Hammerglass® is another polycarbonate mainly used for security and against vandalism. Acrylic on the other hand is often called Plexiglas. Plexiglas® is a trademark by Evonik.
Comparison of Characteristics
- More likely to chip
- Less impact-resistant than polycarbonate, yet still 10-24 times more resistant than float glass
- More resistant against evenly-distributed loads then polycarbonate
- Less likely to scratch.
- Does not degrade in colour to yellow after time.
- Better clarity. Acrylic can be restored to optical clarity by polishing.
- Impact/chip resistance is about 30 times more resistant than glass
- More likely to scratch.
- Substantially more expensive. (Roughly 2 to 3 times)
- Used for more industrial applications
- Bulletproof when thick enough.
- More bendable under normal temperatures (0-20°C)
- Goes yellow over time due to UV rays
- Easier to work with
- Poorer clarity, diffuses light
|Polycarbonate – Lexan||Acrylic – Plexiglas GS|
|Max weight gain during immersion||%||0.35||2.1|
|Tensile strength σΜ at 23°C||MPa||60-70||80|
|Flexural strength σbB||MPa||90||115|
|Impact strength acU (Charpy)||kJ/m2||35||15|
|Optical Light Transmission||%||89||92|
|Vicat B Temperature||°C||145||115|
|Velocity of Sound||m/min||2270||2750|
|Attenuation at 5MHz||dB/cm||24.9||6.4|
|Fire Rating||German DIN 4102||B2||B2 (*2)|
1-0. Popular Uses for Acrylic
Acrylic is the right material for evenly distributed pressure. Image shows an underwater window by Hydrosight. Click for more examples.
2-0. Popular uses for polycarbonate
- Compact discs, DVDs
- Lighting lenses, sun-/eyeglass lenses, safety glasses, automotive headlamp lenses, camper windows
- Drinking bottles
- Computers, such as Apple
- Riot shields, visors
- Instrument panels
- Bulletproof protection