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 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.
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|
|Tensile Strength Yield||D638||8,900 – 9,000|
|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|