Pros and Cons of Polycarbonate Panels

A group of multicolored polycarbonate panels.

Polycarbonate panels are extensively used in a variety of applications. Polycarbonate is a thermoplastic that is exceedingly tough, resistant to ultraviolet rays, and provides an attractive look. It is available in clear and opaque forms, making it the ideal choice for construction and security-related purposes. Some of the main pros and cons of polycarbonate panels are listed below.

Advantages of Polycarbonate Panels

Polycarbonate panels are finding use in an increasing number of scenarios. They are virtually unbreakable and can withstand massive force. For this reason, they are used in the construction of bulletproof windows and police shields. They also find use in the construction of banks, offices, and fences.

Blocking ultraviolet rays is another great plus with polycarbonate panels. This quality makes these panels the material of choice for constructing overhead covers and awnings in commercial establishments. These panels are also very light when compared to glass, acrylic, or other plastics. This results in easy transportation, installation, and lower labor costs -- three big bonuses when considering building costs for businesses.

Polycarbonate panels are available in clear glass-like shades and also opaque shades for better cover. Depending on the needs of an organization or individual, these panels can be colored or left translucent, adding to the flexibility of use.

Another favorable factor with polycarbonate panels is their high resistance to heat and cold. These panels are ideal for use in any kind of harsh environment, as they can last longer than other standard construction materials. Combined with the excellent optical properties of polycarbonate panels for keeping out ultraviolet rays while letting in enough sunlight and heat, makes polycarbonate panels the material of choice for constructing greenhouses and plant nurseries. On top of that, polycarbonate factors are also resistant to sunlight, rain, and snow. This enables these panels to last in the outdoors for many years without showing signs of fading, yellowing, or discoloration.

Disadvantages of Polycarbonate Panels

Polycarbonate panels have few disadvantages when compared to other materials such as glass or plastic.

The high price is one of the major disadvantages of polycarbonate panels since it is much more expensive than glass and other plastics. As a result, many consumers consider opting for ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), which is also considerably tough but has lower impact resistance and heat resistance. ABS is much lower in price and can offer a good solution for buyers who do not require the extreme toughness and heat resistance of polycarbonate panels.

Polycarbonate panels are not very resistant to scratching, marring, and abrasive surfaces. As a result, denting is possible on the surface if care is not taken.

They are also highly sensitive to abrasive cleaners, alkaline cleaning products, and solvents. Therefore, you must be very careful to avoid substances containing acetone, benzene, or any other, such as organic solvents.

The manufacturing process is not very environmentally friendly, requiring very high processing temperatures. Also, it requires phosgene, which is known for its ill effects on human health, and chlorine, which is also environmentally unfriendly. As a result, several precautions must be taken to protect workers during the manufacturing process.