All about polycarbonate

Polycarbonate – popular sheet material, widely used in advertising, design, repair, in summer construction and in the production of protective equipment. Received consumer feedback indicate that polymers of this type are quite justifying their popularity. What happens to what are and why are you needed than different types of what these properties are possessed by polycarbonate sheets, it is worth learn more.

What it is?

Building polycarbonate – polymeric material with transparent structure, type variety. It is most often available in the form of flat sheets, but can also be represented in curly products. Of it make a wide range of products: headlamps for cars, pipes, glass for protective helmets. Polycarbonates are represented by a whole group of plastics, which are based on synthetic resins – they can have a different composition, but always have common characteristics: transparency, hardness, strength. This material has the widest application. It is used in the finishing of facades of buildings, during the construction of canopies and other translucent structures.

Polycarbonate in sheets has a unique set of properties – in strength, it exceeds acrylic and silicate glass, fireproof, because when heated it is melted, and not flammable. The invention of the thermoplastic polymer has become a side result of the work of the pharmacological industry. His synthesized in 1953 German Schnell – Bayer Engineer in Germany. But his way was long and expensive.

Soon advanced variants of the thermoplastic polymer appeared, and the leafy options began to produce massively in the 70s of the XX century.

How do?

Production of polycarbonate of all types today is carried out in three ways, each of which ensures sufficient profitability of manufacturing processes.

  • Polycondensation (interfacial) phosgene and a-bisphenol. It takes place in solvents of organic origin either in the water and alkaline medium.
  • Pereterterification in vacuum diphenyl carbonate.
  • Fusignation in pyridine a-bisphenol solution.

The raw materials come to the plants in bags, in the form of granules. Light-stabilizing components are added to it, ensuring the lack of closet effect, which has previously arising from this group of plastics during contact with ultraviolet rays. Sometimes in this capacity there is a special film – a coating that is applied to the surface of the sheet.

The production process takes place on plants equipped with special autoclaves, in which the translation of raw materials is carried out to the desired aggregate state. The main way of manufacturing products – extrusion, it is the standard sizes of cellular varieties that are due to. They correspond to the width of the working canvas of machines. Monolithic polycarbonate is produced by the method of stamping, with a preheating in the furnace, where air circulation is carried out.

Basic properties

According to the requirements of the Polycarbonate, the requirements of the GOST products from it must have certain characteristics. They have a shower partition, and a greenhouse or translucent roof. Cell and monolithic varieties have some parameters may vary. It is worth considering them in more detail.

  • Chemical resistance. Polycarbonate is not afraid of contact with mineral oils and salts, it withstands the effect of weakly acid. The material is destroyed under the influence of amines, ammonia, alkalis, ethyl alcohol and aldehydes. When selecting adhesives and sealants, their compatibility with polycarbonate should be taken into account.
  • Non-toxicity. Material and products from it are allowed for use in the storage of certain types of food products.
  • Light traffic. It is about 86% for fully transparent cellular sheets and 95% – for monolithic. Toned may have indicators from 30%.
  • Water absorption. It is minimal, from 0.1 to 0.2%.
  • Impact resistance. Higher than the acrylic 8 times, and the quartz glass polycarbonate exceeds 200-250 times by this indicator. During the destruction, there is no sharp or cutting fragments, the material is interactable.
  • Life time. Manufacturers guarantee it in the range of up to 10 years, in practice the material can retain properties 3-4 times longer. This weather-resistant type of plastics is easily adapted to a variety of operating conditions.
  • Thermal conductivity. The cell coefficient varies from 1.75 to 3.9, depending on the thickness of the material. Monolithic it is in the range of 4.1-5.34. This material holds heat better than ordinary quartz or plexiglass.
  • Melting temperature. It is +153 degrees, material processing is made in the range from +280 to +310 degrees Celsius.
  • Hardness and rigidity. Material has an increased viscosity regarding shock loads of more than 20 kJ / m2, monolithic even withstands the direct bullet entering.
  • Stability of shape, size. Polycarbonate saves them when temperatures change from -100 to +135 degrees Celsius.
  • Foreign safety. This type of plastics is one of the most harmless. Material during burning does not flame, but melted, turning into a fibrous mass, quickly fades, does not highlight hazardous chemical compounds into the atmosphere. His fireproof class – B1, one of the highest.

Polycarbonate, besides other advantages, has high supporting abilities and flexibility, inaccessible for glass, some other plastics. The designs of it may have a complicated form, withstand significant loads with no visible damage.

Scope of application

Depending on the thickness of the sheet of polycarbonate, you can make many designs. Professional sheet with a wavy or trapezoidal structure is considered a good alternative to roofing or adding to them. It is used for the construction of canopies, visors, terraces and veranda. Cell sheets most often found in greenhouses and greenhouses – here their properties are most in demand.

As well as the use of sheet polycarbonate is relevant for the following areas:

  • Construction shower for giving;
  • creation of shelter for the pool;
  • fencing of sports grounds and public areas;
  • Glazing of greenhouses, winter gardens, balconies;
  • Production of swings, benches, arbors, other garden structures;
  • formation of internal partitions in offices, banks, other institutions;
  • production of advertising and informational structures;
  • Road construction – as noise absorbing shields, stopping pavilions.

Products made of polycarbonate due to simple and comfortable cutting of material may have decorative appearance. It is made of stylish transparent grilles on the windows, curly hedges and framed by gazebo. Smooth sheets are widely used in the upgrade of cars, bicycles, motorcycles, they can be given different shapes.

Glasses in protective helmets, glasses for carpentry work – it is difficult to find the scope of use in which the polycarbonate would not be useful.

What happens and what are the differences?

There are several types of polycarbonate sheets at once. The most rare of them are decorative. This includes corrugated or embossed polycarbonate, obtained on the basis of monolithic material. It is produced in the form of sheet modules, it looks very attractive, maybe matte, with different types of relief. These products have increased strength, they are often used in the design of wrought-iron gates and fences.

Some varieties of polycarbonate refer to reinforced – they have additional ribs. For example, a wavy monolithic or with a profile in the form of a trapezium allows you to create aesthetic transparent or colored roofing. It is used in the form of inserts on the roofs with different types of skate. Despite the fact that polycarbonate in rolls is most often considered as country, its monolithic analogues have high aesthetics. It is worth considering some of the features of the main types in more detail.


Externally, it looks like silicate or acrylic glass, but more flexible, What allows the use of material in radius structures, arches. High transparency and wide color gamut make a monolithic polycarbonate attractive for use in glazing greenhouses, balconies, showcases. Sheets withstand significant shock loads, they can be called anti-vandal.

Surface in the usual design smooth, without relief on both sides.


The structure of this polycarbonate uses a honeycomb cell, connected by jumpers along the length and width. The main monolithic layers are quite thin, located outside. Inside the space is divided into cells of rigidity. Sheets of such material are not bend across, but they have a fairly large radius in the longitudinal direction. At the expense of the air layer inside the cellular polycarbonate is very light.

Sizes and weight

Mounted for polycarbonate of different types Dimensional parameters are determined by the requirements of GOST R 56712-2015. According to this standard, the nominal width of the panels of all types is 2100 mm, length – 6000 or 12000 mm. The fattest cellular polycarbonate reaches 25 mm, the most thin – 4 mm. For monolithic varieties, the characteristic dimensions of sheets are 2050 × 1250 mm or 2050 × 3050 mm, the maximum length is up to 13 m. At the first species, the thickness is installed at the level of 1 mm, the second varies from 1.5 to 12 mm.

The weight of the product is calculated on 1 m2. It is determined individually based on sheet thickness. For example, for a cellular variety of 4 mm mass of 1 m2 will be 0.8 kg. In a sheet monolithic polycarbonate, this figure is higher because there are no emptiness. 4 mm panel has a mass of 4.8 kg / m2, with a thickness of 12 mm, this indicator reaches 14.4 kg / m2.


The manufacture of polycarbonate was once exclusively prerogative of European brands. Today and in Russia there are dozens of brands – from regional to international. The list of the most famous manufacturers and rating on the quality of their products will allow you to navigate throughout the variety of options.

  • “CARBORS”. Russian polycarbonate, distinguished by high quality. The company uses Italian equipment.

  • “Polyalt”. The company from Moscow produces a cellular polycarbonate that meets European standards. By the ratio of price and quality – one of the best options.

  • “Safflast”. Domestic brand, actively implementing its own innovations and development. Product cost – average.

Among foreign brands, Italian, Israeli, American companies are considered among the leaders. Mark is popular in Russia Polygal Plastics, Offering and cellular, and monolithic material. Italian segment of manufacturers is represented by the company Bayer, producing products under the brand Makrolon. There is a wide selection of colors and shades.

It is also worth noting the British manufacturer of Brett Martin, which is considered to be the leader in its region.

Selection and calculation

Solving which polycarbonate it is better to choose, it is worth paying attention to the main characteristics of high-quality material. Among the main criteria several indicators.

  • Density. What it is higher, the stronger and more durable material, but the same factor in cellular panels significantly affects light transmission. For them, the density of 0.52-0.82 g / cm3 is considered normal, for monolithic – 1.18-1.21 g / cm3.
  • Weight. Light plates are treated as temporary or seasonal coating. They are unsuitable for year-round operation. If cellular polycarbonate is noticeably easier than the norm, it can be assumed that the manufacturer saved on the thickness of the jumpers.
  • Type of UV protection. Volumenny implies the addition of special components into the polymer, but its properties retain no more than 10 years. Film protection works better, increases the service life almost twice. The most reliable option is a polycarbonate with a volumetric filler and a double UV barrier.
  • Minimal bend radius. It is important when installing curvilinear structures. On average, this indicator may vary from 0.6 to 2.8 m. If the recommended bending radius is exceeded, the panel breaks down.
  • Svetopropuscability and color. In different material options, this indicator varies. The highest transparent: from 90% for monolithic and from 74% for cellular. The lowest – in red and bronze, does not exceed 29%. In the middle segment green, turquoise, blue colors.

Calculation of polycarbonate is carried out on the setting of the area covered. In addition, such parameters, as an accurate calculation of the loads on strength and deflection, have important. Best of all these parameters illustrate the table.

Work features with material

Polycarbonate can be cutting and cutting with a conventional knife, electric jigsaw. Monolithic sheets are well amenable to laser cutting. Bend the material is also possible without heating and effort. It is enough to give it the necessary form with the help of vice and clamps. With a string of monolithic material, it is important to put it on a flat flat surface. After cutting the edge, it is better to smoke aluminum scotch, to close the ends.

Cellular varieties after cutting also need to insulate edges. Special moisture protection tapes are produced for them. This allows you to provide the necessary tightness, protects against dirt and dust inwards. Transparent polycarbonate can be painted, additionally increasing its protective properties. That’s just sheets contraindicated contact with many chemicals.

Paint should be water based. It is better to choose acrylic options, odorless, quick-drying and well-layered to the surface without prior preparation.

Storage and Transport Tips

The need to carry polycarbonate independently on a passenger car arises from many dachas. It is mostly about a cellular variety of material used in the arrangement of greenhouses. Transportation in passenger transport for monolithic polycarbonate is provided only in a colorful form or with small sheets of sheets, exclusively horizontally.

When transporting a cellular variant, some rules should be followed:

  • transport material in a roll in a roll form;
  • The floor in the car must be smooth;
  • The protrusion for the size of the body with a thickness of 10-16 mm cannot exceed 0.8-1 m;
  • It is necessary to take into account the radius of the bending of the panels;
  • use binding straps or other rigging.

If necessary, polycarbonate can be stored at home. But here should comply with certain recommendations. The material should not be too long to be rolled into the roll. When stored, comply with the manufacturer’s diameter recommended to avoid strain or cracking polycarbonate.

It is impossible to step or walk on the surface of the detachable sheets. It is especially important for cellular polycarbonate, the structure of the cells of which can be broken. When stored is also extremely important to ensure the lack of contact with direct sunlight from the side, not protected by film. If the heating occurs constantly, it is better to remove the protective packaging in advance, otherwise it can be glued with the surface of the coating.


Polycarbonate is presented in the market in a wide range, but it also has alternatives. Among the materials that can be replaced with this plastic, several species can be distinguished.

  • Acrylic. Transparent material is produced in sheets, heavily inferior to polycarbonate in strength, but in general, quite in demand. It is also known as plexiglas, polymethyl methacrylate, plexiglass.
  • PVC. Modern producers of such plastic make molded transparent panels with low weight and profiled structure.
  • Pat sheet. Polyethylene terephthalate is lighter than polycarbonate and glass, withstands shock loads, sound well and skips up to 95% of the light flux.
  • Silicate / Quartz glass. Fragile material, but with the highest translucent. It holds worse heat, has low impact resistance.

Despite the presence of alternatives, according to the characteristics, polycarbonate is far superior to other plastics. That is why it is chosen for use in a wide variety of activities.

Review reviews

According to most people using polycarbonate designs, this material quite justifies expectations. Monolithic varieties are not as common as cellular. They are more often used by advertising agencies and interior designers. Severences installed as partitions, suspended screens are especially popular here. It is noted that the material is well amenable to cutting and milling, it is easy to turn it into the original decor element in the interior. Cellular polycarbonate is well known as the base for greenhouses.

It is noted that the materials produced according to GOST are truly responding to the expected level of reliability, the strength and aesthetics are preserved for a long time. They are easy to mount themselves. Many acquire cellular polycarbonate for building pounds for poultry, car canopies. In some cases, serious complaints about product quality arise. Cellular polycarbonate due to accessibility and popularity are often formed, not by standards. As a result, it turns out to be too fragile, poorly suitable for exploitation at low temperatures. The poor-quality goods often purre in the first year after the purchase.

On how to fix polycarbonate correctly to profile pipes, see the following video.

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