What is the Strongest Plastic – Polycarbonate Sheet?

Many plastics are durable and have good impact strength. Delrin® – Acetal for example is a very durable and strong material, but compared to some other materials the impact strength is lower. The Acetal – Delrin 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 Polycarbonate Sheet or Sheets formed into Riot Shields Is Makrolon Polycarbonate The Strongest Plastic in Sheets? Is Makrolon Polycarbonate The Strongest Plastic in Sheets? polycarbonate sheet riot shieldsreferred 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 Eye Protection Goggles Is Makrolon Polycarbonate The Strongest Plastic in Sheets? Is Makrolon Polycarbonate The Strongest Plastic in Sheets? polycarbonate goggles

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.

More information on the UL approval ratings of Polycarbonate Sheets Here.

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:

General Property ASTM Test Typical Value
Specific Gravity D792 1.2
Tensile Strength Yield D638 8,900 – 9,000
Tensile Modulus D638 340,000
Izod Impact – Notched D256 12.0-16.0
Hardness – Rockwell D785 M70
Deflection Temp @ 264psi D648 270
Deflection Temp @ 66 psi D648 280
Co. Thermal Expansion D696 3.7X10-5

 

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.

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Topic: Polycarbonate Sheet and Plate

Polypropylene Sheet and Sheets come in Natural and WhitePolypro sheets welded into tank Natural and White Polypropylene Sheet and Sheets Natural and White Polypropylene Sheet and Sheets polypro welded tank

Let’s start by clarifying what Natural and White means. The natural color of Polypropylene is a translucent straw color, not yellow – not white, more of a very lite translucent – almost transparent beige. The white color is a bright white with a slight blue tint, or blue white. This white color is opaque, and is a white color that blends well with other materials. Polypropylene sheet is also available in the color Black.

Polypropylene sheet materials are available in an opaque black color as well. There is also a grade of Polypropylene sheets that carries a FR – UL 94 V-0 rating. When fabricating a ‘wet bench’ for the electronic industry, the new requirement is FM4910. This new specification is from Factory Mutual Insurance, and the requirements are very stringent. The purpose of this specification is that the FM4910 means it won’t burn, and will put off no toxic fumes or excessive smoke.

This rigid plastic sheet can be cut with standard cutting tools, drilled, routed, machined and processed easily. Clean and sharp tools will provide a clean cut, and occasionally will produce stringy burrs that are easy to remove with standard deburring tools. It fabricates very much like HDPE (High Density Polyethylene Sheet), and has many similar properties. The chemical resistance of Polypropylene approaches the excellent resistance of Dupont PTFE Sheet.

Polypropylene sheet materials have excellent chemical resistance

The main claim to fame for polypropylene in sheet is the excellent chemical resistance. This material is used extensively in the manufacture of chemical tanks. This chemical resistance means also that it can not be bonded together (glues and cements peel right off!), and thus it must be ‘welded’ together for fabrication. The preferred method of welding is a hot air welder – which supplies a fine stream of very hot air on the exact area that you may wish to weld together. This weld, when done properly will yield a very strong bond, and will enable a water tight tank or box to be fabricated.

This great building block material can be used in numerous industrial and chemical type applications. The list of great properties is extensive, here are a few of the highlights: Welded Polypropylene sheet - Electronic manufacturers wet bench Natural and White Polypropylene Sheet and Sheets Natural and White Polypropylene Sheet and Sheets polypro welded wet bench

  • Self Lubricating and Low Co-Efficient of Friction
  • High Chemical Resistance
  • Abrasion, Moisture and Electrical Resistance
  • Stiffness, Rigidity, or Cut Resistance
  • Low Specific Gravity (Floats in Water)

Polypropylene sheet and sheeting provide years of use, and can be cleaned with most chemical cleaners. Sheets are available in thicknesses ranging from .032″ – 2.0+ thick, and standard sheet sizes are 48″ X 96″ and 48″ X 120″, plus other sizes can be special run.

Contact us for availability of your Polypropylene sheets, rod and yes, even tubes. We are waiting your e-mail inquiry or call us at: 866-832-9315.
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Topic: Polypropylene Sheet Fabrication

Which Plastic Sheet or Rod Material is right for me?

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.Researching the best plastic sheet and rod materials Which Plastic Sheet or Rod To Use – How Do I Choose The Proper Plastic Materials Which Plastic Sheet or Rod To Use – How Do I Choose The Proper Plastic Materials researching plastics

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 or Delrin (Dupont Brand Name) 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.Are you searching for the right plastic material for your project Which Plastic Sheet or Rod To Use – How Do I Choose The Proper Plastic Materials Which Plastic Sheet or Rod To Use – How Do I Choose The Proper Plastic Materials searching

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 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.

So many Plastic Sheet and Rod Choices

Because there are so many options, we invite you to do further research. One are would be the blog post ‘Pick The Proper Plastic Material‘, or even use the online tool ‘Gehr Plastic Selection Tool‘. There are over 60 standard plastic sheet materials that we stock, with many additional material that are available from our factories, contact us for help with your application.

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.
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Which Plastic Sheet or Plastic Sheets?

A wide variety of plastics are available in sheet form.

The term: ‘Plastic Sheet‘ or ‘Plastic Sheets’ is more of a general statement covering over a hundred types of plastic materials and plastic products. Some of the most popular plastic materials made as a sheet are:

Wide range of plastic materials in sheet

In addition to the wide range of plastic materials available as plastic sheet, most of these materials are also available as: thin gauge or film, strip, plate, block, slab and plastic panels. The thin gauge or film materials are frequently available with or without a pressure sensitive adhesive also called ‘tape’. Sheet in some materials is available over 4.0″ thick and perhaps as thick as 8.0″ thick in a few materials. The standard sheet size on most of our plastic sheets is either 24″ X 48″ or the larger 48″ X 96″ sheet size; although some materials are available as: 48″ X 120″, 60″ X 96″ or 72″ X 96″. Contact us with with questions on your required piece sizes, we are happy to provide plastic sheets cut to size.

While there are lots and lots of different materials available as plastic sheet, there may only be one or two materials that are right for your application. We want to assist with your search. If you need help choosing the proper plastic material for your application, check out our free Plastic Material Selector Guide. Also, feel free to contact us for further assistance. As a leading plastic sheet distributor since 1975, we feel that we are your best choice as your new plastic sheet and sheets supplier. Give us a call at 866-832-9315.
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Topic: Various Plastic Sheet Materials Available

American Made Plastic Sheets and Rods

Plastic Materials By Any Other Name…Made In The USA - High Quality Materials Quality American Made Mechanical, Industrial and Machinable Grade Plastics Quality American Made Mechanical, Industrial and Machinable Grade Plastics american flag

There are hundreds of plastic manufacturers, and even more plastic sheet, rod and tube suppliers.

What makes one better or worse than another? Some of the biggest differences are in the quality of the materials they have in stock. Not all manufacturers are the same. Some produce very inexpensive materials for the disposable trade. A few supply high quality materials from the big names in the plastic industry.

We buy only from American companies. Our suppliers and warehouses are all here, in the USA. While several of our factories have parent companies in Western Europe, they manufacture the bulk of their materials here in the states. With the NAFTA requirements, we are able to provide certification to all our materials.

American Made Quality Makes A Difference

As you probably know, materials made in areas around the world don’t have the same quality control systems that we have here. We have seen materials from suppliers not in the USA or Western Europe, and have chosen to not carry any of these materials – they just don’t measure up to Made In The USA! We believe that thatAmerican Made still means something, and it transfers to the materials we supply.

Since 1975 we have partnered with the best manufacturers, with the best industrial, machinable, mechanical and professional grades of plastic materials available in the marketplace. Quality names like: Westlake Plastics, Ensinger Plastics, Gehr Plastics, Rochling Plastics, Polymer Industries, Spartech Plastics, Plaskolite, and many, many more. None of these are suppliers are newcomers, most of our suppliers have been in business producing excellent quality plastic sheet and rod for over 50 years. We are the new guys, as we started in 1975!

Buy From A Plastics ProfessionalOur real 'brick and mortar' building. Industrial Plastic Supply, Anaheim, CA - American Made Plastic Materials Quality American Made Mechanical, Industrial and Machinable Grade Plastics Quality American Made Mechanical, Industrial and Machinable Grade Plastics ips building

How can you tell if your plastics are ‘quality’ pieces of plastic? It is a bit tough to tell by just looking, and that is what the low quality suppliers and manufacturers count on. Sometimes the only way to tell is by cutting or machining a part. We have cut into materials that literally break when a saw blade comes into contact. Some materials have stress levels so high they bow significantly as we cut through the material. See article on Stress In Plastics.

These high internal stresses show up during machining as warping, changes in tolerance, large movement in part size and stress fractures. We have seen parts move by over 5% after part was machined and within 12 hours. This picture shows a piece of glass filled nylon from one of the ‘upstarts’ in the industry. As a test, we were cutting some strips. As you can see, the part has such a high stress level that it warped away from the rest of the sheet as we cut it. This is very dangerous for a person cutting or machining, as it can stop a blade or break free and strike an employee. We chose not to buy from this new company.

Plastic Sheet and rods Proudly American Made

We have been around the block a few times, and we know most of the things that will cause you problems in a material. That is why we only buy from the big guys, the high quality material manufacturers, the well known – tried and true manufacturers. We buy from the experts, the professionals, the leaders in our plastics industry. Supplying industrial grade plastics to machine shops may seem like an easy thing. We treat this process with the respect it deserves; your parts are important to you and your customers. We won’t let you down by providing unacceptable grades of plastic materials. Our parts aren’t stressed out!

Call on us today – 866-832-9315 and ask for a Plasticologist, or email us for more information about the quality materials we supply.

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Stress In Plastic Sheet, Rod, Tube Man stressed due to getting bad plastics from questionable plastic material supplier Are Your Plastic Material Suppliers Stressing You Out Are Your Plastic Material Suppliers Stressing You Out stressed dude

You know how bad it is when you get stressed out, with all the day to day challenges and issues? Well, plastics get stressed too.

The process of producing plastics into sheet, rod and tube is a stressful manufacturing process.

Stress free plastic manufacturing

  • The process to make a plastic sheet, plastic rod or plastic tube requires the plastic resin to be heated to temperatures of 350° – 500º to get the resin to flow through the machines.
  • The material is then pushed through a die at high pressure.
  • This heat and pressure cause many stresses to affect the plastic material.
  • The cooling of the plastic shape is critical
  • If the plastic cools to quickly, the surface cools and the center is still very hot, this is a major cause of internal stress.
  • Processed to quickly and voids or cold spots cause poor quality sections.
  • Processed to slowly and materials burn in the die and visible burn spots appear on the surfaces – bad material
  • Proper speed provides homogeneous material that has cooled at a uniform rate through the sheet yields a very low stress sheet

The stresses from this production can be very significant and can ruin your parts. One common prevention method is to anneal or stress relieve the raw material prior to machining, and may require stress relieving during machining if large amounts of material are being removed. The stress relieving process is a slow heat and cool process, contact us for details on your material or project.Greatly stressed plastic sheet - nylon with large warp Are Your Plastic Material Suppliers Stressing You Out Are Your Plastic Material Suppliers Stressing You Out stressed nylon sheet

Here is an example of a highly stressed plastic sheet, it is 1.250″ thick glass filled nylon sheet. The manufacturer sent us this sample to show the ‘quality’ of their material. We attempted to cut off a strip to do some testing, and you can see the results. This material warped so much it stopped our saw! We never did buy anything from this supplier.

Compression Molded Plastic Sheet and Brownies…

Yes, you read that right, brownies. I still remember the wonderful smell of my Grandma’s house when she was baking her special 2″ thick brownies. The smell was great, but I also remember the critical timing in the oven. She would open the oven and peek in, and close it quickly so as not to let the heat out. Then, when they looked about right she would open the oven and slip a toothpick into the center of the pan and pull it out again slowly. I can remember asking, “Grandma, why do you put in the toothpick into the brownie?”. The answer was, that the outside cooks quicker than the inside, and it takes a while to get the brownies to cook all the way to the center.Then, when they were all cooked, I would have to wait while they cooled. And, sometimes, if I didn’t wait quite long enough, when I would take a bit the center would burn my tongue. Ouch!Stress caused br plastic sheet cooling too quickly Are Your Plastic Material Suppliers Stressing You Out Are Your Plastic Material Suppliers Stressing You Out hot plastic cooling

The interesting thing is, that plastics are about the same. Most plastics have a very low co-efficient of thermal conductivity (that is sure a mouth-full), which means that heat and cold don’t travel through the plastics well. This means that it takes a while to ‘cook’ the plastic all the way through, and not just the surfaces. And, just like my brownie story, the plastics take a long time to cool. If the outside of the plastic cools much faster than the inside, then large amounts of stress develop.

The process of compression molding of the plastic sheets is ideal for eliminating stress. The sheets cook slowly, so the entire sheet, including the center, is heated to a uniform temperature. The temperature is held at temperature to insure a fully cooked sheet (you can’t use a toothpick here). Then, over several hours, the temperature of the sheet and the entire compression molding press is lowered very s-l-o-w-l-y. This allows the center of the sheet to cool at the same rate as the external surfaces, and this yields a very stress free sheet. The premier manufacturer of this high quality compression molded sheet is Westlake Plastics. We have been a master supplier of the Westlake Plastic materials for over 35 years.

What should you do to eliminate stress?

If you are experiencing problems with your plastic materials, such as twisting, warping, ‘potato chipping’ or any other sign of stress, contact us. It is probably not your fault. There are dozens of manufacturers that produce engineering and mechanical plastic shapes, they are not all the same. During the production of materials, the process should include a secondary annealing step to remove stress from the newly product.  By removing all stress from the sheet or rod you are insured of a ‘clean slat’ before you start machining or finishing. We only provide materials from top rated manufacturers, we truly care about the materials you receive from us.

If you have been experiencing problems with the materials you are getting from other suppliers, let us know, we can help eliminate your stress problems. E-mail us or call us at: 866-832-9315

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Bayer Plastics Makrolon Polycarbonate – Still UL approved?

The world of polycarbonate sheet has changed and evolved over the last several years. Most manufacturers have changed their formulation, and most new formulations no longer meet the tough UL  certification ratings for flammability. Many manufacturers now do not rate their materials on the UL 94 series tests at all. Most suppliers don’t even meet the rating of UL 94 HB (which means it will burn horizontally!). The UL 94 V-0 means that when tested, the material did not burn vertically and was self extinguishing. In other words, it does not burn, puts itself out and will not add to the combustion. Bayer Material Science, formerly known as Sheffield Plastics,  still certifies their materials to this high rating, and have a range of materials that can meet your requirements.

Bayer Material Science produces standard General Purpose Polycarbonate as Makrolon® GP, which meets the UL 94 HB rating. The next grade is their Makrolon® GP-V which carries the UL 94 V-0 at .210″ and thicker. They also have a superior grade called Makrolon® FI, and it meets the UL 94 V-0 at  the thickness of .060″ and an amazing UL 5VA at .118″ and thicker.

UL 94 V-0 approval for Polycarbonate Bayer – Sheffield Makrolon Polycarbonate Sheet Still UL Certified Bayer – Sheffield Makrolon Polycarbonate Sheet Still UL Certified  UL logoBayer Material Sciences Makrolon Polycarbonate Sheets Bayer – Sheffield Makrolon Polycarbonate Sheet Still UL Certified Bayer – Sheffield Makrolon Polycarbonate Sheet Still UL Certified  bayer logo

Since the beginning of Polycarbonate, originally invented by General Electric Plastics, the most common trade name has been Lexan®. Today, the Lexan® trade name is owned and produced by Sabic Polymers (they purchased all of G.E. Plastics). Sabic is one of the best resin manufacturers in the world, and many of their resins are used to make products we supply (ie: Noryl® and Ultem®). The second largest – well known manufacturer of polycarbonate resins has been Bayer (yes, the company that makes your aspirin), and several years ago they purchased Sheffield Plastics. Sheffield has been a world leader in the manufacturing of Makrolon® Polycarbonate sheet and sheet. Now under the Bayer umbrella, this material is now the best rated polycarbonate sheet in the market.

Makrolon Polycarbonate Sheets Take A Beating

Hitting Polycarbonate Sheet with hammer Bayer – Sheffield Makrolon Polycarbonate Sheet Still UL Certified Bayer – Sheffield Makrolon Polycarbonate Sheet Still UL Certified  HammerBoth of these polycarbonate sheets are very high impact (considered unbreakable), and are exceedingly transparent, has the look of transparent glass. As one of the only clear plastic materials that is high impact, polycarbonate in glazing applications are very tough, and can take numerous hammer blows without cracking or breaking. Also, one of the distinct differences between these materials is the UL rating. Here is a copy of the current (May 2013) data sheets for these two brands of material – Bayer Makrolon®_GP, Makrolon® GP-V, Makrolon® FI and Sabic Lexan® 9034. Review these pages, with extra focus on the ‘Flammability’ ratings of these materials. You will see that Sabic does not list the UL 94 specification (the USA standard for flammability) at all,  and that the Bayer – Sheffield material does meet the UL certification in a variety of materials. While this just one rating, it  should not be the only factor when considering a polycarbonate purchase, it is important if your project needs a flammability rating. Both manufacturers produce very high quality sheet, and without the masking you can’t see a difference. 

Let us know if we can assist you with your Polycarbonate Sheets or an individual Sheet requirement. Email us or call us at: 866-832-9315

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