Properties of plastic sheets: everything you need to know about them

Are you getting started with plastic sheet material? Then it is useful to know what properties your plastic sheet has. The properties of plastic that are important to you, depend on the application you want to use it for. In this blog, we have collected the properties of 7 different plastic sheets for you, from acrylic to polyethylene.

1Properties of plastic: Acrylic

Before we go into the properties of acrylic plastic, it is important to distinguish between cast acrylic (GS) and extruded acrylic (XT). The main difference is in the production process. XT sheets are rolled to get them to the right thickness. This makes the sheet longer and wider, allowing for a larger quantity of acrylic sheets to be produced. This not only makes extruded acrylic cheaper, but also puts more stress on the sheet, making it a lot harder to process than the cast variant. Cast acrylic is easy to process. The plastic properties below also apply to both cast acrylic and extruded acrylic:

✓ Suitable as a glass substitute;
✓ 30 times stronger than traditional glass;
✓ 2 times lighter than ordinary glass;
✓ Available in numerous colours and thicknesses;
✓ Moisture resistant;
✓ UV resistant;
✓ Suitable for bending;
✓ Suitable for indoor and outdoor use.


Read more about the properties of acrylic in acrylic properties.

Properties of plastic #1- Acrylic
Acrylic side table

2Plastic properties: Foamed PVC

We come across foamed PVC plastic a lot in the advertising world. Think of displays, billboards and stand material. This lightweight sheet material is very popular, thanks to the sheets’ excellent fire resistance, as well as sound and heat insulation properties. Foamed PVC also has the following properties:

✓ Weighs half as much as solid PVC;
✓ Suitable to print on;
✓ Easy to process;
✓ Easy to clean;
✓ Available in various colours;
✓ Suitable for indoor use only.


Read more about the properties of foamed PVC in 5 important properties of foamed PVC.

Foamed pvc sheets
Milling foamed pvc

3Plastic properties: Solid PVC

The properties of solid PVC plastic are that it is a lot stiffer, more rigid and heavier than foamed PVC. This makes this material ideal for use in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and in construction for facade applications, such as insulation or filler strips. Solid PVC also has the following properties:

✓ Long service life;
✓ Easy to recycle;
✓ Chemical resistance;
✓ Easy to process;
✓ Moisture resistant;
✓ Tough;
✓ Suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

Hard pvc drilling
Hard pvc drilling

4Properties plastic: Polycarbonate

One of the most important properties of polycarbonate plastic is that this material is extremely strong. Polycarbonate is as much as 250x stronger than glass, while weighing a lot less. In addition, the polycarbonate we sell is highly resistant to high temperatures and UV radiation. This keeps the sheets beautiful, as they will not or hardly not discolour. Thanks to the many positive properties of this plastic, you can go in many directions with polycarbonate sheets. The most important properties are listed below:

✓ Can be used as safety glass;
✓ Fire retardant;
✓ UV resistant;
✓ Easy to process;
✓ Moisture resistant;
✓ Tough;
✓ Suitable for indoor and outdoor use.


Also read 5x polycarbonate properties for more information.

Boat window
sawing polycarbonate

5Properties plastic: HPL/Trespa®

The main properties of HPL and Trespa® plastics are that they are moisture resistant and strong, making them popular for use in hygienic environments. These durable plastics also do well as cladding. Whereas you would normally need to have a painter come in every seven years, you can expect cladding made of HPL or Trespa® to last for around 30 years. HPL/Trespa® does not weather with wood rot, moisture or mould. However, processing HPL/Trespa® is somewhat more difficult, comparable to processing hardwood. This plastic also has the following properties:

✓ Extremely strong and hard-wearing;
✓ Low maintenance;
✓ Available in many colours and thicknesses;
✓ Suitable for indoor and outdoor use;
✓ UV resistant;
✓ Moisture resistant;
✓ Challenging to work with;
✓ Lifetime 30 years;
✓ Chemical resistant;
✓ Heat resistant;
✓ High expansion due to temperature compared to other plastics.


Also read the blog Properties of HPL.

HPL screws
HPL drilling

6Properties of plastic: ACP

The most important property of ACP/Dibond® plastic is that the material is flat and does not bend easily. This makes the material good for printing on and stickering. That is why we see this plastic a lot in the advertising and signing industry. In addition, this material is insensitive to temperature changes, so you don’t have to take expansion into account during assembly. Useful, for example, if you want to clad the underside of your carport with ACP/Dibond®. Other properties of this plastic are:

✓ Easy to work with;
✓ Low maintenance;
✓ Moisture-resistant;
✓ Insensitive to temperature changes;
✓ Suitable for indoor and outdoor use;
✓ Weather-resistant: UV-resistant and waterproof;
✓ Lightweight;
✓ For indoor and outdoor applications.


Dibond wall panels
Drilling alupanel

7Properties of plastic: Polyethylene

Polyethylene plastic may call itself the world’s most widely used plastic thanks to its special properties. This is partly because the material is very tough and resistant to elongation and high point loads. Thanks to these powerful properties, this sheet material will not break during processing. In addition, this maintenance free material has very good chemical resistance and the following properties:

✓ Easy to process;
✓ Recyclable;
✓ Iron strong;
✓ High electrical resistance;
✓ Cheap;
✓ Moisture resistant;
✓ Widely applicable;
✓ Suitable for indoor and outdoor use.


Polyethylene outside

Properties plastics table – the differences at a glance

Acrylic (XT) Acrylic (GS) Foamed PVC Solid PVC Polycarbonate HPL / Trespa Alupanel/Dibond Polyethylene
Heat resistant up to 70 ℃ up to 70 ℃ up to 70 ℃ up to 70 ℃ up to 120℃ up to 70 ℃ up to 80 ℃ up tot 90 ℃
Scratch resistant
Low maintenance
UV resistant
Widely applicable
Easy to process
Moisture resistant
Insensitive to temperature differences


Ordering plastics cut-to-size

Are you going to make a project using plastics soon? Order your materials in our webshop and we will cut the sheets to size for you, in any desired shape. Do you still have questions? Then feel free to contact us.