Sheet grade polycarbonate (aka Lexan or Makrolon) and acrylic sheet (aka Lucite) are two of the most frequently used see-through plastics in our solutions that require clear barriers. Each has benefits and drawbacks:

  • Acrylic is the shinier of the two products.
  • Polycarbonate is the stronger of the two materials.
  • Acrylic is less expensive than Polycarbonate but easier to crack.
  • Polycarbonate is more impact resistant than Acrylic but easier to scratch.
  • But, BOTH are stronger and lighter than untempered glass;
    o Acrylic is 4x to 8x stronger than glass,
    o Polycarbonate is about 200x stronger.

The video above, produced by the motorcycle windshield company National Cycle, illustrates some of these differences by showing the effect of various projectiles and weapons on both acrylic and polycarbonate windshields.

By the time you finish watching the faceless guy in the video hit the windshields with everything from a slingshot to a baseball bat (as well as a hammer, shotgun and semi-automatic pistol) you will see that polycarbonate bends (and scratches) but doesn’t break; and that acrylic stays stiff and shiny, but cracks and shatters under the impact.

Common Uses

Another way to show the differences is to list some of the common uses for each of these two materials.

Common Uses for Acrylic Sheet:

  • Fish tanks and aquariums
  • Animal and reptile enclosures
  • Retail product displays
  • Storm window linings (interior layer)
  • Hockey rink glass

Popular Uses for Polycarbonate (Lexan):

  • Race car windows
  • Transparent visors for hockey and football players
  • Window well covers
  • Re-usable drinking bottles
  • Computers: Apple, Inc.’s MacBook, iMac, and Mac mini
  • Machine guarding glass
  • Laminated layers of polycarbonate can be engineered to stop various size bullets

As standard, we fit polycarbonate to all our safety screens.

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    If you'd like to know more, why not get in touch with one of our team; for costings, advice or design guidance.

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