What is Polycarbonate?
Polycarbonate is a thermoplastic material that offers manufacturers and designers opportunities for design freedom, aesthetics enhancements and cost reductions. PC is known for maintaining coloring and strength over the time, even in stressful conditions.
Polycarbonate is a high-performance tough, amorphous and transparent thermoplastic polymer with organic functional groups linked together by carbonate groups and offers a unique combination of properties. PC is popularly used as an engineering plastic owing to its unique features that include:
· High impact strength
· High dimensional stability
· Good electrical properties amongst others
Though the characteristics of polycarbonate are similar to polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA, acrylic), but polycarbonate is stronger, usable in a wider temperature range (Melting point: 155°C) but more expensive. As PC shows excellent compatibility with certain polymers, it is widely used in blends, such as PC/ABS, PC/ PET, PC/PMMA. Some of the common applications are compact disc, safety helmets, bullet-proof glass, car headlamp lenses, baby feeding bottles, roofing and glazing etc.
NOTE: Polycarbonate was first prepared in 1953 by Dr.H.Schnell of Bayer AG, Germany and by D.W. Fox of General Electric Company, USA.
Main Characteristics and Properties of Polycarbonate
PC is an ideal material well known and widely used in the industry for its versatile characteristics, eco-friendly processing and recyclability. Comprising a unique set of chemical and physical properties makes it suitable over glass, PMMA and PE.
Let’s discuss PC properties in detail:
Toughness and High Impact Strength – Polycarbonate has high strength making it resistant to impact and fracture, and further providing safety and comfort in applications that demand high reliability and performance. The polymer has density 1.2 – 1.22 g/cm3), maintains toughness upto 140°C and down to -20°C. Also, PCs are virtually unbreakable.
· Transmittance – PC is an extremely clear plastic that can transmit over 90% of light as good as glass. Polycarbonate sheets are available in a wide range of shades that can be customized depending on an end-user application.
· Lightweight – This feature allows virtually unlimited possibilities to OEMs to design as compared with glass. The property also allows to increase efficiency, make installation process easier and reduce overall transportation costs.
· Protection from UV Radiations – Polycarbonates can be designed to block ultraviolet radiation and provide 100% protection from harmful UV rays.
· Optical Nature - For having amorphous structure, PC offers excellent optical properties. The refractive index of clear polycarbonate is 1.584.
· Chemical Resistance – Polycarbonate exhibits good chemical resistance against diluted acids, aliphatic hydrocarbons and alcohols; moderate chemical resistance against oils and greases. PC is readily attacked by diluted alkalis, aromatic and halogenated hydrocarbons. Manufacturers recommend to clean PC sheets with certain cleaning agents which do not affect its chemical nature. It is sensitive to abrasive alkaline cleaners.
· Heat Resistance - Offering good heat resistance, Polycarbonates are thermally stable up to 135°C. Further heat resistance can be improved by adding flame retardants without impacting material properties.
Highly transparent. Offers light transmission as good as glass
High toughness even down to -20°C
High mechanical retention up to 140°C
Intrinsically flame retardant
Offers good electrical insulation properties that are not influenced by water or temperature
Possesses good abrasion resistance
Can withstand repeated steam sterilizations
· Good electrical insulation properties, that are not influenced by water or temperature
· Good abrasion resistance
· Resistant to repeated steam sterilization
· Efficient than other engineering thermoplastics
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------At Bear Tech Industries:
In our Enclosure products, it is Temperature and Moisture resistant- will not Sweat nor allow moisture build up as is common of stainless steel and metal enclosures