Polycarbonate materials give you a unique balance of beneficial features including high temperature resistance, impact resistance and optical properties position polycarbonates in between commodity plastics and engineering plastic materials.
Polycarbonate is definitely a durable material. Though it offers tremendous impact-resistance, it’s got minimal scratch-resistance and thus a hard coating typically is applied to polycarbonate eye wear and polycarbonate exterior automobile components. The characteristics relating to polycarbonate tend to be similar to those of Acrylic PMMA materials, except polycarbonate is stronger, it is usable in a wider temperature range and is a bit more expensive. This plastic polymer is highly transparent to visible light and it has better light transmission characteristics than many different types of glass.
Polycarbonate has a glass transition temperature near 150 °C (302 °F), consequently it softens slowly above this point and flows above about 300°C (572 °F). Tools must be held at high temperatures, generally above 80 °C (176 °F) to help make strain- and stress-free products.
Unlike most other thermoplastics, polycarbonate can undergo large shape changes without cracking. Because of that, for small changes in shape, it can be processed and formed without needing to be heated using standard sheet metal techniques, for instance forming bends on a brake. Even for sharp angle bends having a tight radius, no heating is generally necessary. This makes it attractive prototyping applications where transparent or electrically non-conductive parts are essential, which may not be crafted from sheet metal. Note that PMMA/Plexiglas, that is similar in appearance to polycarbonate, but it’s brittle and can’t be bent with out a heating process.
The light weight of polycarbonate, compared to glass, has led to growth and development of electronic touch screens that replace glass with polycarbonate, for use in mobile and portable devices. Such displays include newer e-ink and many LCD screens, though CRT, plasma screen and other LCD technologies which still do require glass for its higher melting temperature and its ability to be etched in finer detail.
Other types of items fabricated from Polycarbonate include durable, lightweight luggage, MP3/digital audio player cases, computer cases, high impact riot shields, instrument panels, and common style blender jars. Many toys and hobby items are made from polycarbonate parts, e.g. fins, gyro mounts, and flybar locks for use with radio-controlled helicopters.
For use in applications subjected to weathering or UV-radiation, a special surface treatment is needed. This either can be a coating (e.g. for improved abrasion resistance), or perhaps the coextrusion for enhanced weathering resistance.
Bayer Makrolon Polycarbonate is a thermoplastic that at the beginning, starts as a solid plastic material in the form of small pellets. In a manufacturing process called injection molding, these small pellets are heated until they melt and become a very thick liquid. The liquid polycarbonate is then rapidly pushed into molds, compressed under high pressure and cooled to form a finished product in less than a minute.