Polycarbonate has many good qualities like those of metal, glass, and plastics united in it. The material is extremely impact resistant, stiff, transparent, and can handle hot and cold environments. Polycarbonate profiles are dimensionally stable. Polycarbonate profiles are used where a high impact resistant profile needs to be combined with light transmission. The applications vary from automotive, aircraft, lighting, and electronic industry. Polycarbonate is sensitive to the infusion of plasticizers and oil from Soft PVC and some rubbers. Keep this in mind when it is used as a seal or sealant; for this purpose, plasticizer-free flexible plastics are available.
Polycarbonate profiles are frequently used in:
Polycarbonate is extremely impact resistant, relatively scratch proof, and features a high gloss surface. The material is considered one of the high-quality plastics. Polycarbonate is also highly resistant to high temperatures. Its maximum tolerable temperature is 130⁰ C (266⁰ F). the impact resistance remains good at low temperatures. Polycarbonate gets frail around -190⁰ C (-310⁰ F). yet another advantage is the relatively low expansion coefficient of polycarbonate. According to the BGA and FDA guidelines, some polycarbonate products are approved for the food industry. Among other products, baby bottles are made from polycarbonate.
By utilizing special pigments, the colorfastness is excellent. Polycarbonate is crystal clear and thus can be transparently colored. When the material experiences prolonged exposure to outdoor environments, the surface will turn yellowish while the impact resistance diminishes. By using UV- stabilizers and coatings, the outdoor life span can significantly improve.
Polycarbonate burns clear and sooty and is self-extinguishing. The use of additives can enhance the fire-retardant classification. The combustibility is classified by UL-norm (Underwriters Laboratories, USA) 94-V2 through 94-VO. The VO classification qualifies for the highest norm within the electronic industry. Polycarbonate with VO classification is also used in the airline industry.
Polycarbonate and mixtures of this with other plastics (ABS or PBTP) can be painted with the same lacquer as used for styrene. For this material too, attention must be paid to the type of solvents used; this due to the sensitivity of the material. This is especially true for the spray-painted parts that experience high internal stress. Polycarbonate can also be transparently lacquered to enhance outdoor durability.
Welding is best done with a heat source, like hot air or mirror welding at temperatures of 400⁰ C (752⁰ F). before welding, the material must be dried and made tension-free by heating it at a high temperature.
Polycarbonate is resistant to diluted mineral acids, aliphatic hydrocarbon, gasoline, grease, and alcohol. It is not resistant to alkalis, ammonia, aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene, and ozone. Polycarbonate is sensitive to various chemicals that can induce environmental stress embrittlement.
PC is suitable to bond with other thermoplastics like co-, tri-, and quad extrusion. Next to bonding with natural PC, like with a different color, it also bonds well with ABS, ASA, and TPU.