Difference Between Polycarbonate and Acrylic

Polycarbonate vs Acrylic

Plastic is a polymer that has a large molecular mass. The monomers of plastic can be natural or synthetic. Plastic is synthesized from petrochemicals. There are two types of plastics, thermoplastics and thermosetting polymers. Thermoplastics becomes soft when heated and when cooled it solidifies again. With continuous heating and cooling, the shape can be changed without a problem (e.g. polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC, polystyrene). However, when thermosetting polymers are heated and cooled it becomes harden permanently. When heated it can be molded, but if heated again it will decompose (E.g.: Bakelite, which is used to make handles of pots and pans). Plastics are widely in use in different forms, such as bottles, bags, boxes, fibers, films, etc. Plastics can be very resistant to chemicals, and they are thermal and electric insulators. Different plastics have different strengths but are light weighed. Polycarbonate and acrylic are two types of plastics with little differences than normal plastics. Both are glass like, but strong plastics.


Polycarbonate is a type of plastic. It is very tough, therefore, very hard to break. These are polymers. Monomer unit of this has carbonate groups; thus, they are named as polycarbonates. Polycarbonate polymer is made up by repeatedly combining units with the following chemical structure.


This polymer is produced by the reaction between bisphenol A and phosgene COCl2. These are high molecular weight polymers. Polycarbonates turn into liquid state when heated and when cooled, it freezes into a glassy state. Therefore, they are known as thermoplastic. Therefore, they can be easily molded and shaped into required forms. Because of this property, polycarbonates are used in various applications. Further, polycarbonates are durable and highly resistant. It is stable in higher temperatures like 280 °F and lower temperatures like -40 °F without any deformation. It is transparent to visible light. Therefore, polycarbonates are used for bulletproof windows, eyeglasses, etc. The advantage of using polycarbonates than glass or any other plastic is that, polycarbonates are light weighted but stronger compared to others. Further, it has a high refractive index, and can bend and make glasses with equal thickness. Lenses made by polycarbonate can be so thin, and they bend light more than glass or plastic.  Polycarbonates are also used to make compact disks (CDs) and Digital versatile discs (DVD)s. polycarbonates are used in electronics. For example, cell phone, laptop or computer covers are made by polycarbonates. Moreover, they are used as automotive components.


This is also a thermoplastic, like polycarbonate and transparent too. Sometimes this is also called acrylic glass, because this is widely used to replace glass. Acrylic is also known by the names Poly (methyl methacrylate) or   PMMA. Poly (methyl 2-methylpropenoate) is the IUPAC name of acrylic, and it has the following structure.


This is a strong, light weighted and shatter resistant plastic. In fact, acrylic is stronger than glass. Acrylic is used to make windows, glass doors, skylights, etc.


What is the difference between Polycarbonate and Acrylic ?

• Polycarbonate is stronger than acrylic.

• Acrylic is less harmful compared to polycarbonate because it doesn’t contain bisphenol A.

• Acrylic can be breakable if a higher force is applied. But polycarbonate is nearly unbreakable.

• Polycarbonate has a higher impact resistance.


  • http://www.kapoorplastics.com/ Kapoor Plastics

    Aacrylic and polycarbonate – Both are weather resistant and expand and contract with temperature changes without long-term or permanent shrinkage. Very helpful.