Things you should know about Polycarbonate Sheet, Sheets and Panels

A common misconception is that ‘all polycarbonate sheets are the same’. This is not true, as a matter of fact, it is far from a fact. While most manufacturers of polycarbonate sheets start with a similar base resin, this is where the similarities normally stop. Most polycarbonate sheet extruders run a base material far different from what the standard has been for the last 30 years. Most polycarbonate sheet is now made without the flame rating it had in the past. Polycarbonate Sheets are sometimes called ‘polycarbonate panels’ or ‘polycarbonate plates’, they are still made from the same high quality resins. One of the best known manufacturers of Polycarbonate resins and sheets is Sabic Polymers®, the manufacturers of Lexan® resin and Lexan® Sheet products. Over the last several years, Sabic has quietly discontinued the UL ratings on their Polycarbonate.

Industrial Plastic Supply And Makrolon GPBayer MaterialScience now Covestro

For more than 30 years, Industrial Plastic Supply has relied on the high quality Polycarbonate Sheets produced by Sheffield, now part of Covestro (formerly Bayer MaterialScience). Covestro produces a crystal clear, ultra high impact strength resin, this Makrolon resin is the finest in the industry. Covestro has also chosen to continue to produce this high quality material with the UL 94 V-0 rating, the only supplier to continue this expensive, but extremely valuable service. Take a moment and look at your requirements, see if perhaps somewhere on the blue print is a note that states your polycarbonate material needs to be UL 94 V-0 approved or rated. If so, Makrolon GP is your only and best choice!

How is Covestro Makrolon Polycarbonate available

We stock Covestro (Bayer MaterialScience) Makrolon GP in flat panels, considered Polycarbonate Sheet or as Polycarbonate Sheets. We can cut theses sheet Polycarbonate materials to strip or strips, blocks, or just a cut to size piece. At Industrial Plastic Supply we have stocked large quantities of these materials, and continue to keep Makrolon GP and Makrolon FI sheets in stock. With a wide range of thicknesses ( .030″ – .500″ thick) and sheet sizes of 48″ X 96″, 60″ X 60″ and 72″ X 96″ as standard in .118″ – .500″, we can fill all your requirements.Covestro (Bayer) Makrolon GP Polycarbonate Sheets formed into Riot Shields

Why you should use Makrolon Polycarbonate Sheet

Superior clarity, quality, surface finish, flame retardant and full USA factory technical assistance are just a few reasons. Buying polycarbonate sheets imported from somewhere half way around the globe, from an unknown manufacturer with little or no technical support can be very risky. Covestro/Sheffield manufacturers this premium quality polycarbonate sheet right here in the good old USA, in Sheffield, Massachusetts. They produce this crystal clear sheet on the latest and most technologically advanced extruders available, and have several warehouses for us to get material quickly for you. Why settle for an unknown? Can you afford to ‘try’ the other guys? Step up to the finest quality, and yet still competitively priced polycarbonate sheet, get Covestro Makrolon GP Polycarbonate Sheet for your next project. Industrial Plastic Supply also carries the Westlake Zelux M Polycarbonate Sheet and Zelux W Polycarbonate Plate. The Zelux M is a machine grade Polycarbonate Plate from .375″ – 4″ thick sheet, and the Zelux W is a clear – Window Grade thick Polycarbonate Plate in the same thickness range. Contact us for more information on this thicker material. We also supply other manufacturers grades of Polycarbonate Plate, including, but not limited to: Ensinger Plastics, Nytef Plastics, Rochling Plastics and more.Machined Polycarbonate Block made from Zelux M Contact us for more information or technical assistance on Polycarbonate or any other quality plastic sheet, rod or tube. Call us at 866-832-9315 or send us a quick note here. Google+



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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 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

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.

Author: Google+ – Hayden Hess G+

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Topic: Polycarbonate Sheet and Plate


Plastics In Natural Disasters

The world is an ever changing and frequently hostile environment. Damage can be caused by a range of factors: from storms, floods and tornados to fires, hurricanes and earthquakes – all natural disasters.

This is certainly evident in the recent earthquakes and tsunami that ravaged Japan and Haiti. In addition, we have man made disasters. The nuclear concerns in Japan have captivated people’s attention throughout the globe. The Gulf Oil Spill is an example of another environmental disaster. Plastic materials are the perfect choice in prevention, preparedness and clean up from natural disasters.

 

Plastics in disaster preparedness.

Many plastic materials are used in the prevention, control and repair management – whenever and wherever a natural disaster may occur.

Polycarbonate Window Screen - Protecting against Natural Disasters

One of the most visible plastics is the Polycarbonate used in hurricane window covers / shutters. Polycarbonate is a clear rigid plastic that has extremely high impact strength, and is the material most commonly known as ‘Bullet Resistant Glazing’. It is used in safety glasses, riot shields and bank theft prevention glazing. The Polycarbonate protects windows and inhabitants from flying debris and breaking glass caused by the high winds, hurricanes and tornados. Use of the Polycarbonate window coverings saves homes from damage, and helps reduce insurance premiums.

Hillsides are affected by storms and heavy rains, causing mud slides. The standard and most popular solution is to cover hillsides with Polyethylene film. This helps to prevent the rains from saturating the ground and causing the ground to move or shift. The Poly film is normally .004” – .010” thick in widths up to 20 feet and lengths of 100 feet (the same material used as painters tarps from home improvement centers). This film is then attached to the hill with spikes, stakes or sand bags; and this material sheds the water rather than letting it soak in. It can be applied with folds and used like rain gutters to direct water flow away from specific areas. Also, the current sand bags used are not the old cotton fabric bags used years ago; they are now a high strength and tear resistant woven polypropylene ‘fabric’ bag.

 

The recent critical issues with nuclear leaks bring up an interesting use of a plastic material. As you may recall, after the earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese energy experts were pumping water and boron into the reactors to help control the amount of nuclear energy released. Boron Filled Polyethylene Helps Protect Against Radiation DisastersThe nuclear industry uses a plastic material, High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) that has been filled with the natural mineral boron. This boron filled (typically a 5% boron fill) is used to shield neutrons and nuclear energy in many applications; nuclear submarines, nuclear power plants, hospital radiation, dental x-ray shielding and industrial radiation applications. It is normally produced in sheet, and can then be mounted in and around the radiation source as shielding. The benefit to using this boron filled HDPE is this sheet weighs significantly less than traditional lead shielding, and is therefore much easier to install.

 

Plastic used in clean up from disasters

It is much more difficult to clean up after natural disasters occur. Many of the methods used in the preparation limit the amount of clean up caused by natural disasters.

Depending on the severity of the natural disaster, the uses of plastics in the aftermath are almost limitless. In the cleanup and rebuild after major Earthquakes, shelter is a key component. One of the quick shelters brought in are simple wooden frames with twin-wall plastic sheets made from either Polypropylene or Polycarbonate stapled or nailed to the framework. This provides an inexpensive, easily movable and effective shelter for short term housing. The twin-wall design provides excellent insulation and energy savings. This style shelter is foldable, easy to transport and very easy to set up. Several versions can be made from small huts to larger family areas, to separate sanitary latrine units. These extruded twin-wall materials work well to protect against rain and excessive exposure to the elements. These can be used as assembled, or with a sand bag reinforced perimeter. In Haiti, there were reports of residents filling used one gallon water bottles with mud, and building shelters with these mud building blocks.

The gulf oil spill brought plastics to the front line in disaster cleanup again. Materials used to collect and dispose of excess oil from the waters were rushed to the area. Polyethylene bags are used to collect the oil covered and saturated cleaning rags and clothes, preventing additional dispersion. Many varieties of machinery were brought in to clean the waters. One style machine uses 8” UHMW rod as a squeegee roller that grabs the oil from the water surface and then collects it for later use. Oil booms and rotary wheels are common systems for collecting oil from spills. Because plastics have great surface tension, the oil ‘sticks’ to the plastic surface during the cleaning process. Then the plastic surfaces are wiped clean for reuse and capturing the oil. Plastic tubes and hoses are used to move the oil after collection.

A significant use of plastics would be in the aftermath of natural disasters, specifically in the sanitation and clean water areas. First is sanitation; plastics are used in keeping items clean and dry. Polyethylene film covers items such as medical supplies, shelters, clothing and food cartons. This film keeps the items protected during shipment and ready for use.

Water is the second area of concern. Clean water is critical during the clean up and resettling after a natural disaster. Individual use water bottles are the quick and easy way to deliver water. Larger rotationally molded tanks are brought in with the ability to store large amounts of water in the areas affected. Reverse osmosis equipment (many components are made from plastic) is brought in to convert contaminated water in the clean potable water on site.

In all of these examples, plastic is lighter in weight than the alternatives, normally less expensive that the alternatives, it lasts longer and the plastics are recyclable.

Plastics are excellent choices for material to use in natural disasters.

Google+ – Hayden Hess

Is Lexan® the same as Makrolon® or Polycarbonate?

The short answer is no, are they very similar, yes. The reason is that both Lexan® and Makrolon® are brand names, along with Hyzod®, Cyrolon®, Zelux®, Paltuf®, Tuffak®, Ensicar®, Unicar®, Texin®, Apex® and many more. Lexan® is a brand name for SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation) which acquired the entire General Electric Plastics division several years ago. Makrolon® (formerly Hyzod®) is a trade name for Covestro (formerly Bayer MaterialSciences).

These materials are all Polycarbonate which is a very tough, high impact plastic material. The base resins are very similar, however, the end product varies quite a bit depending on the manufacturer. The Covestro Bayer Makrolon® GP-V material does meet the UL 94 V-0 flame retardant certification (at .220″ thick), and the Makrolon® GP is UL 94 HB rated.

How do I tell the difference between Lexan® and Makrolon®?

Bayer MaterialScience now Covestro

It would be impossible to tell the difference between brands by just looking, unless it still has the masking on, it would take some testing. The majority of both brands of materials are available in a very clear, UV stabilized glazing grade and look identical to the naked eye. This material is excellent for replacing window glass and is virtually unbreakable.

 

Industrial Plastic Supply stocks the Covestro (Bayer) Makrolon® GP Polycarbonate materials in stock and ready for shipment. We have chosen to carry the Covestro Makrolon® Polycarbonate because of its superior quality, physical properties and ratings. You will find these materials available as sheet and rod here. If you have further questions, or would like to see the data sheet on Makrolon® Polycarbonate and/or Lexan® Polycarbonate for comparison, please give us a call: 866-832-9315 or email: request@indplastic.com

This post is part of our effort to answer as many questions for you as possible, and to assist you in choosing the proper material for your applications, this is another very popular question we hear.

Yes, Lexan® and Makrolon® are both Polycarbonate materials. And we believe that the Covestro Makrolon® is the best Polycarbonate sheet available in the market place.

Google+ – Industrial Plastic Supply, Inc.