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Last edited 31 May 2017
Polycarbonate plastic (PC) is a high-performance, sustainable thermoplastic (it becomes liquid at its melting point rather than burning). Unlike thermoset plastics, thermoplastics can be heated, cooled and reheated again without significant degradation. This means they are suitable for be injection moulding and subsequent recycling.
Polycarbonate plastics are naturally transparent, and amorphous, that is, they tend to gradually soften rather than rapidly changing from solid to liquid states as crystalline polymers do.
Polycarbonate was first discovered in 1898 but not patented until 1953. It has been used in a multitude of commercial applications since the late-1950s. It is widely used for construction applications that require transparency and high impact resistance, and they can be used as a lighter alternative to glass.
- Safety eyewear and other protective equipment.
- Diffusers and light pipes for LEDs and exterior light fixtures.
- Plant and machinery guards.
- Security glazing.
- Flat or curved glazing.
- Noise barriers.
Polycarbonate has very good heat resistance and pliability. It can be combined with flame retardant materials without suffering significant degradation.
Although it is highly impact-resistant, polycarbonate is prone to scratching. In some applications where this is likely to prove a problem (such as with safety eyewear), a scratch-resistant coating can be applied.
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