Nowadays there are numerous uses of plastic, in many more things than we think. In addition to this, technological advances are modernizing and improving all industrial processes, giving us the possibility to experiment and use plastic derivatives such as acrylic and Lexan. Both are very similar materials, but what are the details and characteristics of each one? How are they similar? How do they differ? We will tell you all about them below.
It is important to note that Lexan is the commercial name, owned by the company SABIC, by which polycarbonate sheets are known. Both materials are durable and flexible materials that are compared to each other because of their uses and their characteristics, since they are two of the most widely used transparent plastics. Another aspect in which they are similar is that they are both very light and much stronger materials, compared to glass. In addition, they are also very easy to clean and have a similar resistance to bending.
On the other hand, as we will see below, the differences between the two materials make them suitable for different uses.
Main uses of Lexan: LED light tubes and diffusers, computer and phone cases, automotive windows and windshields, reusable bottles, clear visors for soccer and field hockey helmets, window covers, bullet-resistant glass, machine guards, and molds for urethane and silicone casting, among many others. Read more about the LEXAN™ film by SABIC here.
Main uses of acrylic: fish tanks, aquariums, animal and reptile enclosures, motorcycle helmet visors, field hockey rink glass, point-of-sale displays and signage, helicopter and submarine windows, lighting fixtures, automotive coatings, and for the inner layers of storm window coverings, among others.
Advantages of Lexan: It can be cold molded or bent without heating and can be punched without risk of cracking, is highly resistant to acids and other chemicals such as gasoline and can withstand temperatures up to 240°F, has high impact resistance and is less rigid than acrylic. It also has a low level of flammability.
Advantages of acrylic: It is cheaper and brighter than polycarbonate, can be polished if necessary and does not yellow over time, has a wide variety of colors and is easier to cut, has greater resistance to evenly distributed loads, scratches and UV rays. It also provides a cleaner bond than polycarbonate.
All in all, generally speaking, acrylic is more suitable for aesthetic uses, thanks to its clarity and wide choice of colors and finishes. It is also a more economical option. However, Lexan is a more resistant option and, therefore, is the preferred material in companies where safety concerns predominate, although it does not have finishes as beautiful as acrylic.
Now that you know the uses and advantages of each of the materials, there is only one thing left to do: to decide rather if your enterprise needs acrylic or Lexan.