Polycarbonates and acrylics are some of the most common types of plastics. They have their unique drawbacks and benefits. There are certain aspects which you can use to determine whether to go for either of the two:

 

Price

Normally, polycarbonate sheets are more expensive than acrylic sheets. On average, the polycarbonate products are about 2 times more costly than the acrylic products of the same type.

Machining

Since acrylic cannot shatter, machining polycarbonates is easier. The machining process may involve turning, sawing and milling.

 

Scratch

Polycarbonates are prone to scratches though they have a high impact strength due to their flexibility while acrylics are not that vulnerable to scratches though they’re not stronger than polycarbonates.

 

Light transmission

They have an excellent light transmission capability, though,that of polycarbonates is lower than acrylic.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive since other fundamental issues such as the effects of UV on the two products is a critical issue when it comes to any application.

Investigating polycarbonate vs acrylic yellowing key more so when these products are used for outdoor applications.

Naturally, acrylic products transmit the ultraviolet radiation and thus, they can be modified with various UV protection systems to make them UV stable.

UV-Protection

Acrylic sheets transmit the ultraviolet radiation of the range in between 250nm and 400nm.

When acrylics are used in outdoor environments, they are exposed to an array of factors which contribute to their degradation. It is worth noting that like polycarbonate sheets, UV light is responsible for the rapid degradation of acrylic sheets when exposed to the outdoor environment.

The aliphatic isocyanate-based polyurethanes and the aromatic elements undergo chain scission which is caused by the photo-oxidation process.

 

Polycarbonate vs Acrylic

 

As a matter of fact, acrylic sheets will tend to weather after a given period of time which may be determined by the nature of the protective coating.

After this period, they will tend to acquire yellow color which will also be associated with brittleness.

However, when you compare the polycarbonate vs acrylic yellowing, it is worth noting that if all these sheets were treated under the same condition then acrylic will yellow more slowly than polycarbonate sheets.

This is also the same scenario with other polymer products. Most acrylic products come with a 10 year warranty.

On the other hand, polycarbonate will tend to acquire the yellow color due to exposure to the ultraviolet wavelength after a given period of time as well.

Polycarbonate Yellowing Index

When it comes to polycarbonate vs acrylic yellowing, the yellowing index (YI) still forms the foundation from which all experiments are conducted to determine the magnitude of the degradation process.

Despite the fact that polycarbonates will tend to degrade faster than acrylic sheets,polycarbonate sheets are preferred to acrylics due to their superior chemical and physical properties.

Normally acrylics are also treated with UV filters which blocks the harmful UV rays and UV/non-glare.

UV Coating

Mostly, polycarbonate and acrylic product suppliers will always recommend to you the best sheet you opt for a given application. If the price is not worth investing in polycarbonate sheets,may be acrylic sheets could be a better option.

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