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The Plastic Evolution - Polycarbonate Manufacturing Materials

Polycarbonate: The Versatile Virtuoso


As we journey further into the diverse world of plastics, we encounter Polycarbonate, a high-performance material renowned for its range of colours, unmatched clarity and strength. From colourful eyewear frames to crystal-clear protective screens, Polycarbonate's adaptability is evident in its myriad applications.


Historical Background: The quest for Polycarbonate began in the mid-20th century. Dr. Hermann Schnell from Bayer in Germany and Dr. Daniel Fox from General Electric in the USA independently discovered it around the same time in the 1950s. Recognising its unique properties, both companies launched their versions of Polycarbonate under different trade names, and it quickly gained popularity.



Properties:

  1. Diverse Colour Range: While renowned for its optical clarity, Polycarbonate also comes in a wide variety of colours, enhancing its design flexibility.

  2. High Impact Resistance: It's incredibly tough, resisting breakage under force.

  3. Lightweight: It's much lighter than glass, which is why it's preferred for eyeglasses and many other applications.

  4. Temperature Resilience: Polycarbonate can function in a broad temperature range without deforming.

Pros:

  1. Adaptability: Beyond just optical applications, Polycarbonate's strength and diverse colour palette have led to its use in products from fire alarms to transparent protective barriers.

  2. Safety: Its high impact resistance makes it a safer alternative to glass in many situations, including safety goggles and bulletproof windows.

  3. Ease of Moulding: Polycarbonate can be thermoformed or injection-moulded into complex shapes, enhancing its utility in various industries.

Cons:

  1. UV Sensitivity: Prolonged exposure to UV rays can degrade polycarbonate, however, the use of a UV additive or coatings can protect against this.

  2. Scratch-Prone: Without a protective coating, its surface can be easily scratched.

  3. Cost: Polycarbonate is more expensive than many other plastics, which can limit its use in certain applications.


Polycarbonate's impressive range of colours and multiple strengths underscores the innovative spirit of the plastics industry. While it exemplifies the potential of synthetic polymers, it also presents challenges that remind us of the need for sustainable and conscious material use.



For inquiries or to discuss your plastic-based project, contact the Amey Plastics team on 01730 266525 or drop an email to sales@ameyplasticsltd.co.uk.

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