Polycarbonate vs Plastic
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. Plastics can be produced by condensation, addition reactions. Cross linking is possible between polymer chains in the synthesizing process. For instance, Polyethylene is produced by an addition reaction of the monomer ethylene. Its repeating unit is –CH2–. Depending on the way it is polymerized, the properties of the synthesized polyethylene change. PVC or polyvinyl chloride is similar to polyethylene, with a monomer of CH2=CH2Cl, but the difference is PVC has chlorine atoms. PVC is rigid and used to manufacture pipes.
Plastic has become a very controversial issue at the present day, due to its incapability of degradation. Plastics make up a considerable percentage in our garbage; therefore, it keeps on increasing on the earth surface. This problem has caught the attention of the researchers, and recycled plastics have been synthesized.
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 really stronger compared to others. Further, it has a high refractive index and can also 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.
What is the difference between Polycarbonates and Plastic?
• Polycarbonate is a type of plastic.
• Polycarbonates are lighter but much stronger than plastic.
• Polycarbonate can be made thinner than plastic.
• Polycarbonate is durable and hard to break compared to plastic.