The key difference between Lexan and Plexiglass is that Lexan is stronger than Plexiglass material.
Both Lexan and Plexiglass can be used as alternatives for glass due to their similar characteristics. However, they have different strengths; thus, they are used in different applications. Lexan is a polycarbonate resin that we can use in place of glass while Plexiglass is the trade name for polymethyl methacrylate.
What is Lexan?
Lexan is a polycarbonate resin and an important polymer material we can use in place of glass. It is a thermoplastic material that is very strong, transparent, resistant to temperature, and we can easily form it. This is why we commonly use this material as an alternative for glass.
Lexan material is available commercially in solid sheet form, in the form of thin films, and also as an unformed resin. This material usually withstands boiling and very low temperatures as well (to about minus 40 degrees Celsius). And, this property makes it very useful for kitchenware and electric appliances. Moreover, Lexan has a high impact resistance, which makes it useful in safety glass and auto or aeronautic uses. Furthermore, this material can transmit light comparably to plain glass.
Furthermore, Lexan can be recognized as an amorphous solid that does not have a crystalline structure (most solids have crystalline property). When compared to other similar polymer materials such as Plexiglass, Lexan is stronger and expensive. Moreover, it can undergo bending rather than cracking when external pressure is applied to it.
What is Plexiglass?
Plexiglass is the trade name for polymethyl methacrylate, which is an important polymer material. The IUPAC name of this polymer is Poly(methyl 2-methyl propanoate), and the chemical formula of the repeating unit of the polymer is (C5O2H8)n. Although there is a chemical formula for this material, the molar mass varies depending on the value of “n”. The density of this material is 1.18 g/cm3, and the melting point is 160 °C. There are three major ways of synthesizing this polymer: emulsion polymerization, solution polymerization and bulk polymerization.
The tradename of polymethyl methacrylate is Lucite. However, there are some other well-known tradenames such as Crylux, Plexiglass, Acrylite, and Perspex. This material is a transparent thermoplastic polymer, and it is important as an alternative to glass in its sheet form. Furthermore, Plexiglass is useful as a cast resin in inks and coatings.
Moreover, this polymer is strong, tough and has a lightweight. The density of this polymer is less than half of the density of glass. However, it has a higher impact strength than glass and polystyrene. Apart from that, this polymer can transmit around 92% of visible light, so it can also filter UV light having a wavelength below 300 nm.
What is the Difference Between Lexan and Plexiglass?
Lexan and Plexiglass are polymer materials we can use as alternatives for glass due to their similar structures. The key difference between Lexan and Plexiglass is that Lexan is stronger than Plexiglass material. Moreover, Lexan contains polycarbonate resin while Plexiglass contains polymethyl methacrylate. In addition to these, Plexiglass is comparatively less expensive than Lexan.
The following info-graphic tabulates side by side the differences between Lexan and Plexiglass.
Summary – Lexan vs Plexiglass
Lexan and Plexiglass are polymer materials we can use as alternative materials for glass due to their similar structures. The key difference between Lexan and Plexiglass is that Lexan is stronger than Plexiglass material. Further, Lexan is more costly compared to Plexiglass.
1. “Lexan.” Science Direct, Available here.
1. “Lexan Body” By KundaliniZero – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Led e plexiglass 660, 2011, plexiglass, led e ottiche collimatrici” By Verosky – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia