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Polycarbonate sheets

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Everything you need to know about polycarbonate

In our webshop, you will find an extensive range of polycarbonate sheets in the colours crystal clear, opal white (28% translucent), grey and brown. Regarding the sheet thickness, you can choose from sheets ranging from 2 to 15 millimetres thick. We saw your chosen sheets and deliver within 48 hours.

Designations of polycarbonate

Polycarbonate is a thermoplastic polymer, known commercially under various names. From A-Z, these are Arla, Axxis, Caliber, Lexan, Lexan, Lexgard, Margard, Makrofol, Makrolon, Panlite, Quin, Radilux. Whatever you call it, it’s all the same plastic sheet.

Polycarbonate is a thermoplastic polymer and it is one of the few plastics that can withstand high temperatures. It is a tough, crystal clear material and its most important quality is its high impact resistance. Polycarbonate sheets are 250 times stronger than regular glass, while only weighing half as much. Making polycarbonate a popular material for security and vandalism proof glazing. Even though polycarbonate is a tough material, it is still widely applicable and easy to work with.

Applications of polycarbonate

Due to its strength, polycarbonate is often used for heavy duty tasks like security glazing. It is also suitable for applications such as vandalism and burglary proof glazing, glazing for bus stops, bicycle parking, telephone booths and light advertising. Furthermore, the material is ideal for industrial purposes: from machine construction to the food industry. Polycarbonate is extremely difficult to break or crack, and it can resist high temperatures as well as high pressure. But don’t let the tough qualities scare you off, because it is also suitable for more common practises. For example, it can be used to replace boat and shed windows or to create canopies, balcony screens and greenhouses. Polycarbonate is not only strong, it is also diverse and multifunctional.

The characteristics of polycarbonate sheets

Polycarbonate is a thermoplastic polymer. It is a tough, crystal clear material and its most important quality is its high impact resistance. Polycarbonate sheets are 250 times stronger than regular glass. The sheets are available in a variety of colours, but the most popular colour is crystal clear. Clear polycarbonate has a light transmission of 92%, which is significantly higher than regular glass. This is the main reason that thick polycarbonate sheets are visibly clearer than glass, thick glass sheets often show discolouration. Another advantage when comparing polycarbonate to regular glass, is its weight: a polycarbonate sheet weighs half as much as a glass sheet. Additionally, all polycarbonate sheets in our range are UV resistant. All these qualities make polycarbonate a popular replacement for glass. In contrast to acrylic sheets, polycarbonate has a fire class B1, making it both heat and fire resistant as well as being self-extinguishing.

Types of polycarbonate

Polycarbonate sheets are available online in two different types: solid and channel sheets. Multiwall sheets have many, small hollow areas in the centre of the sheet saving a large amount of weight without reducing the strength of the panel. In our webshop, we only sell solid polycarbonate sheets. These sheets are, as their name suggests, massive and super strong. Because of these properties, polycarbonate is often used for “heavy” work, such as safety glazing. In addition to the regular solid polycarbonate sheets, there are also so-called channel sheets. These are extruded sheets that are used for light-transmitting (roofing) constructions or greenhouses. Channel polycarbonate sheets have “bulkheads” over the entire length that obstruct a clear view. We do not supply polycarbonate channel sheets, but only solid (monolithic) polycarbonate.

Variants and colours

This question does not have an easy answer. Even the thinner polycarbonate sheets are very strong, so it really depends on the purpose of the sheet. If it is used as security glazing, we recommend using a minimum sheet thickness of 4 mm. For aquatic applications, like aquariums, we strongly suggest a minimum of 5 mm. A sheet thickness of 6 mm is the absolute minimum if the sheet is used as a window that is 1.5 square metre or larger. If you are not sure what sheet thickness suits your specific project, please don’t hesitate to contact our customer service team for advice.

Thicknesses

Regarding the thickness, you can choose from sheets ranging from 2 to 15 millimetres thick. To easily work out which sheet thickness is suitable for your application, we have developed the thickness calculator. Choose a vertical or horizontal installation and look up the length and width that you have in mind in the table. This will give you the thickness that you need.

Colours

In our range we offer polycarbonate sheets in several colours: crystal clearopal whitetinted grey and tinted brown. The most popular colour is the crystal clear sheet. The opal white sheets are not transparent but still let light through, making them ideal for privacy glazing or in a light box. The homogenous colour of the sheet results in evenly distributed light. The tinted grey and brown polycarbonate sheets are suited for all privacy or light blocking purposes, for examples in boat or caravan windows, balcony screens and awnings. All polycarbonate sheets in our collection are UV resistant. Do you want to know for sure if the colour of the sheet suits your project? Request a sample.

Processing options

Despite its very solid product properties, polycarbonate is very easy to machine. Not only for the professional, but also for the home handyman. With standard DIY tools, drilling, sawing and polishing polycarbonate is no problem at all.

Polycarbonate sheets may seem tough, but they are easy to handle for any (inexperienced) handyman. The run of the mill do-it-yourself tools will work fine for drilling, sawing and polishing the sheets. If you have any experience in working with acrylic sheets, it is good to know that handling polycarbonate sheets is very similar: the proper tools and precautions are almost the same. In fact, polycarbonate is actually easier to handle than acrylic since the chance of the material breaking is a lot smaller.

Mounting and fastening polycarbonate sheets

There are a number of ways to fasten polycarbonate sheets to a surface: screw connections, adhesive bonds or in rubber profiles. It is always important to keep in mind that polycarbonate can slightly expand depending on the temperature. A polycarbonate sheets expands 0.065 mm per metre per degrees Celsius. Therefore, it is pertinent to leave room for expansion. For example, imagine a 2-metre polycarbonate sheet that is used as balcony screen. The outside temperatures vary between -15° and + 35° Celsius, meaning a temperature difference of 50° Celsius on a 2-metre sheet. The expansion degree will be (2 * 0.065) * 50 = 6.5 millimetres. There will need to be room for 6.5 mm expansion. Make the screw holes slightly bigger than the actual screw to give the sheet room to expand. When using an adhesive bond, make sure to use a strong adhesive that will always remain flexible.

  • Welding
  • Turning
  • Sawing (jigsaw)
  • Sawing (circular saw)
  • Drilling
  • Milling
  • Bending (warm)
  • Engraving
  • Coating
  • Cutting
  • Bending (cold)
  • Glueing
  • Lasering
  • Painting
  • Polishing
  • Water cutting
  • Lettering

Properties of polycarbonate

Polycarbonate is a sturdy, hard and transparent material. It is best known for its enormous impact resistance. Polycarbonate is 250 times stronger than glass, while it is only half as heavy! That is why polycarbonate is widely used as safety glazing. In addition, this strong material is fire-resistant (fire class B1) and self-extinguishing. Thanks to its high UV resistance and fire resistance, this material is suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

Properties

Specific mass gr/cm3 0,95
Mechanical properties (at 20°C)
Flexural strength N/mm 37,3
Stretch to breakage % >800
High pressure strength N/mm2 24,5
E. Modules N/mm2 1079,0
Indentation strength J/m2 686,7
Impact resistance KJ/m2 No breakage
Tensile strength N/mm2 27,5
Friction coefficient 0,5
Water absorption at 20°C RV 65% % 0,3
Water absorption at 20°C RV 100% %
Thermal properties
processing temperature (Vivat) °C 70,0
Melting temperature °C 125,0
Linear expansion coefficient °C 200.10-6
Thermal conduction W/(k.m) 0,5
Specific heat KJ/(kg.K) 1,9
Maximum permissible temperature, without load °C 90,0
Minimum permissible temperature, without load °C -30
Electrical properties
Dielectric contstant 2,3-3,4
Dielectric loss factor tg 0,0004
Breakdown voltage kV/mm 80
Surface resistance Ω 10 14
Specific resistance Ω.cm 10 16

Indoor / outdoor use

  • Inside
  • Outside

Usage options

  • Chemically resistant
  • Light sheet material
  • Moisture-proof
  • UV resistant
  • Vandal-proof

Maintenance of polycarbonate

Polycarbonate is easy to maintain. To keep your sheets clean and dust-free for a long time, clean them regularly with an antistatic cleaner. This protects the surface of the sheet well. Are there any scratches, smudges or dull spots on the sheet? They can be removed by polishing the surface. This can be done in two ways: manually or mechanically. For light scratches or slightly blurred surfaces, we recommend polishing manually. Deeper scratches must be pre-sanded, for this you use normal sandpaper or wool. Start with the 200 grit followed by 400 and 800. You can read about the best way to do this in our DIY blog about polycarbonate polishing.

Cleaning polycarbonate sheets is an easy task. All that is required is a clean, damp cloth to make sure all the dirt is absorbed. Always use a clean cloth to prevent small particles from scratching the surface and creating dull, matt areas. To protect the sheet, treat the surface with Burnus antistatic cleaner. This product protects and preserves the plastic material.

Scratches and dull spots can be removed by polishing the sheet surface. There are two ways to go about this job: manual or mechanical. For small, light scratches or hazy spots we recommend manual polishing using a clean, dry (cotton) polishing cloth with a small amount of polish. Xerapol and Zvizzer are polishes that are especially designed for plastic sheets.

Deep scratches will have to be pre-treated by sanding the area of the scratch using normal sandpaper with a fine grain. Never use a grain that is coarser than 400. Start by sanding the area with a 400-grain sandpaper and repeat the process with an 800-grain sandpaper. Sand the spot lightly and don’t add to much pressure. The last step before polishing is using an extremely fine, wet sandpaper, 2000 or 2500-grain. Now it is time to mechanically polish the surface. Check the polishing process by gently cleaning the sheet to see if the scratches are gone. Continue polishing until the sheet is crystal clear again.

Order polycarbonate sheets

You can order polycarbonate sheets from us easily and quickly online. We will saw these for you and deliver them to you within 48 hours. You will be kept informed of the ordering process via e-mail. We briefly explain this process in the video below.

Questions?

Do you have any questions about our products or the ordering process?

We are happy to help you. Please contact our customer service: