Polycarbonate, often referred to by the abbreviation PC, is a high-performance, amorphous and transparent thermoplastic polymer. It offers a unique combination of properties, such as high impact strength, high dimensional stability and good electrical properties.
PC is an ideal material well known and widely used in the industry for its versatile characteristic, with a very good transparency, a unique set of chemical and physical properties and other factors that we will deepen here after.
Polycarbonate is an extreme clear plastic that can transmit over 90% of light, as good as glass. Its transmittance is amazing, even if machine grade is not always optically clear and when machined (milled or turned) it usually looses its transparency. In this case a post process polishing (mechanical or chemical) is required.
Through its properties, PC has high strength resistance to impact and fracture, it provides safety in applications that demand high reliability and performance.
Temperature range is amazing too, it resists from -20°C to +140°C and it can be designed to block ultraviolet radiation and provide 100% protection from UV rays.
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.
Polycarbonate shows a various number of limitations too, for example it can be easily attacked by hydrocarbons and basis. A post prolonged exposure to water over 60°C provokes a degradation of mechanical properties. It has a low fatigue endurance and most important it has a yellowing tendency post exposure to UV.
Polycarbonate can be improved by adding carbon or glass fibres. Most common grade available on the market of machine grade, is a + 30% Glass Fibre, which improves creep resistance.
PC is safe for food contact and it can be certified FDA and EU 10/2011.