The key difference between polycarbonate and acrylic is that polycarbonate is nearly unbreakable, whereas acrylic can be breakable if a higher force is applied.
Plastic is a polymer that has a large molecular mass. The monomers of plastic are either natural or synthetic. Plastic is synthesized from petrochemicals. There are two types of plastics: thermoplastics and thermosetting polymers. Furthermore, plastics are widely in use in different forms, such as bottles, bags, boxes, fibres, and films. Different plastics have different strengths but has a lightweight. Polycarbonate and acrylic are two types of plastics that are little different than normal plastics. Both are glass-like, but strong plastics.
What is Polycarbonate?
Polycarbonate is a type of plastic. It is very tough, therefore, very hard to break. They are polymers. Monomer unit of this has carbonate groups; thus, we name them as polycarbonates. This polymer forms via repeatedly combining units with the following chemical structure.
We can produce this polymer via the reaction between bisphenol A and phosgene COCl2. These are high molecular weight polymers. Moreover, polycarbonates turn into a liquid state when we heat it; when we cool it, it freezes into a glassy state. Therefore, we can call them as thermoplastics. Therefore, they can be easily moulded and shaped into required forms. Because of this property, polycarbonates are important in various applications.
Moreover, polycarbonates are durable and highly resistant. They are stable in higher temperatures like 280 °F and lower temperatures like -40 °F without any deformation. They are also transparent to visible light. Therefore, polycarbonates are useful for the production of bulletproof windows, eyeglasses, etc. The advantage of using polycarbonates instead of using glass or any other plastic is that this polymer has a lightweight, but is stronger compared to others.
In addition, it has a high refractive index and can bend and make glasses with equal thickness. Lenses made by polycarbonate are thin, and they bend light more than glass or plastic. Polycarbonates are also important to make compact disks (CDs) and Digital versatile discs (DVD)s. Also, this material is useful in electronics. For example, cell phone, laptop or computer covers are made by polycarbonates. They are important as automotive components.
What is Acrylic?
Acrylic is also a thermoplastic like polycarbonate and transparent as well. Sometimes we call it acrylic glass because it is widely important to replace glass. Moreover, we use several names such as 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, lightweight and shatters 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 a dimensionally stable, transparent thermoplastic with a structure that allows outstanding impact resistance. Acrylic, on the other hand, is a transparent thermoplastic often used in sheet form as a lightweight or shatter-resistant alternative to glass. The key difference between polycarbonate and acrylic is that polycarbonate is nearly unbreakable, whereas acrylic can be breakable if a higher force is applied.
Moreover, polycarbonate material has a less shine compared to acrylic. Polycarbonate also has high impact resistance, but acrylic has low impact resistance. In addition, polycarbonate is more expensive than acrylic.
Summary – Polycarbonate vs Acrylic
Polycarbonate and acrylic are two common transparent plastic forms. The key difference between polycarbonate and acrylic is that polycarbonate is nearly unbreakable, whereas acrylic can be breakable if a higher force is applied.
1. “Polycarbonate (Lexan) vs Acrylic (Lucite).” Colorado Plastics, 4 May 2018, Available here.
1. “779682” (CC0) via Pixabay
2. “Polycarbonate PC” By Original uploader was PulkoCitron at fr.wikipedia – Transferred from fr.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Bloody-libu using CommonsHelper (CC BY-SA 2.5) via Commons Wikimedia
3. “PMMA repeating unit” By DrTorstenHenning – Own work, drawn with bkchem (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia