What do you need to know about plastic sheets?

The key differences between these types of acrylic stem from the method used in manufacturing. Extruded acrylic is made by extruding acrylic polymer over long production runs, whereas cast acrylic is made by casting the acrylic resin into a mold. Therefore cast acrylic is less uniform in thickness than extruded acrylic, however it displays greater thermal stability and can be reworked hot. It also has better impact resistance than extruded acrylic, and is less prone to developing cracks when exposed to solvents.

Extruded acrylic sheeting is a more economical option than cast acrylic, and has more advantages when it comes to vacuum forming making it a great general purpose sheeting. However it has limitations in its ability to be machined and fabricated.

Extruded acrylic sheet has reduced mechanical properties, however it does give process advantages when heating, bending and vacuum forming, and has a better thickness tolerance than cast acrylic sheet. Extruded sheets are ideal for general glazing applications and the much lower viscosity when hot, makes it more ductile than Cast Acrylic.

Cast Acrylic sheets offer greater thermal stability and better resistance to crazing when exposed to solvents. The thermoforming range for cast sheets is wider. They can be reworked hot, which is not always possible with extruded sheets. The surface finish, flatness and optical properties of Cast Acrylic are all superior to those of Extruded Acrylic sheets.

Strength: Acrylic and Polycarbonate are both half the weight of glass and yet both of these plastics are much stronger than glass. Acrylic has 17 times the impact resistance of glass. Polycarbonate has 250 times the impact resistance of glass. Acrylic is very rigid whereas polycarbonate can be bought in flexible grades. Acrylic cracks more easily than polycarbonate under stress.

Light & Clarity: Acrylic has better clarity than glass, with a light transmittance of 92 percent. Polycarbonate has a light transmittance of 88 percent. Acrylic can be polished to restore its clarity, while polycarbonate cannot.

Polishing: The edges of Acrylic can be polished smooth if necessary; Polycarbonate cannot be polished.

Heat bending: Heat bending works better with acrylic than polycarbonate. Polycarbonate can be cold formed or bent without heating.

Durability: Both acrylic and polycarbonate are weather resistant and expand and contract with temperature changes without long-term or permanent shrinkage. Both acrylic and polycarbonate can scratch, so wool rags and paper towels, which are made from abrasive binding agents, should be avoided. Acrylic is more likely to chip than polycarbonate because it is less impact-resistant. It does not scratch easily, however, and will not yellow over time. Polycarbonate has low flammability, while acrylic will burn slowly and is not recommended in areas where flames may be present.

PETG is a glycol-modified polyethylene terephthalate, which is a co-polyester that is a clear amorphous engineering thermoplastic. A PET-G sheet has high stiffness, hardness, and toughness as well as good impact strength. This material is an economical choice that offers light to medium impact protection against sawdust, wood chips, grinding particles, or machining debris. Polyester is not appropriate for jobs in which workers are exposed to chemicals.

A Pet-G sheet is mostly accepted between Polycarbonate and Acrylic sheet by means of impact resistance and price likewise. In addition to this, it has excellent thermoforming characteristics, much better than Acrylic. It needs lower temperatures to form, and you don’t need to pre-dry them prior to forming. This saves time and energy!

This is not recommended. Acrylic must be heated in order to mold its shape, otherwise it will crack and break into pieces. However, it is flammable at certain temperatures so heating by open flame is not recommended, and other methods of heating may cause it to adhere to the heating device itself. Only professional technicians with the proper tools and safety equipment should attempt to heat and reshape acrylic items.

Yes. Sheets can be cold-curved and serve in arched shapes, provided the relevant POLICAM specifications for minimum radius in cold curving are followed. These specifications can be found in the Installation Instructions of the relevant sheets.
Polycarbonate Solid sheets can be cold-curved in any direction.
Polycarbonate Multiwall sheets can be arched so that the corrugations themselves are curved (lengthwise).
Polycarbonate Multiwall sheets can be arched so that the actual ribs will be curved (lengthwise).
Curving is not recommended across the ribs direction.

Yes some of them do block the UV. Polycarbonate sheets are practically opaque to UV radiation, making them a perfect barrier against this harmful radiation. On the other hand, acrylic roofing sheets generally transmit a considerable portion of the UV radiation.

Expectations from heat blocking substances must be to reduce heat with high visible light transmission. Solaris® sheets are specifically produced for projects requiring blockage infrared (IR) transmission starting about 750nm. The physical properties of this product are the same as standard extruded sheet and thus the same fabrication techniques apply.

The specialty of Solaris® is the ability of transmitting visible light while blocking infrared (IR) rays thus it gives thermal protection to applications. Transparent polymer glazing like Solaris® sheet reduces interior heat buildup while maintaining the highest level of light transmission.

So you can save up to 40% energy! Click here to see a very important graph for the comparison of Policam Polycarbonate and Policam Solaris Polycarbonate grades, including twinwalls as well.

Energy saving with Solaris sheets can be supplied with two ways.

Energy saving from less cooling requirement; Thanks to higher IR blockage property of Solaris sheets inside of any building will be colder so cooling requirement is being less.

Energy saving from less lighting consumption; Thanks to higher visible light transmission property of Solaris sheet required lighting power will be less when you compare to other solutions for IR-radiation.

POLICAM supplies individual product warranties against most types of failures.
The life expectancy can be as much as 30 years, depending on professional installation practice and environmental factors like sun exposure, air pollution, winds, and erosion by sand particles.

Here is a nice summarizing table, prepared by IAPD (International Association of Plastic Distributors):