Polycarbonate sheets are a transparent, synthetic product. Because of its exceptional impact, weather and temperature resistance it provides solutions where other synthetics fail. Polycarbonate has a different chemical composition, and therefore different properties, from other transparent plastics such as PVC.
Polycarbonate sheets can be used in a wide range of applications including airports, stadiums, and public spaces. Polycarbonate sheets are also extremely suitable for private use, including in greenhouse roofing or glazing.
Polycarbonate sheets are particularly user-friendly and very light, so that fewer cross bars are needed. This makes the supporting structure more straightforward and cheaper. Have a look at our installation instructions for multiwall polycarbonate sheets here.
Because of its transparent UV protective layer polycarbonate sheets do not discolour and most polycarbonate sheets come with a 10-year guarantee... but they can last even longer than that!
Polycarbonate roofing sheets come with an energy reflective coating, which helps solve this problem. The winner for the 2011 EPSE Award for Innovation is a good example of this at work. Moreover, polycarbonate sheets have excellent insulating properties so that heating costs are considerably reduced during intermediate seasons.
No! Polycarbonate sheets are not only extremely impact-resistant but thanks to their temperature and weather resistance they have a much longer service life.
Most DIY stores sell multiwall polycarbonate and/or corrugated polycarbonate sheets. Polycarbonate sheets are also distributed via specialist stores, mainly supplying to industry.
Polycarbonate sheets are a very sustainable material that can be recycled and does not emit toxic substances during combustion. Moreover, there are sustainable polycarbonate sheets being manufactured using 20% renewable energy!
Fire safety is one of polycarbonate's strong points. Polycarbonate sheeting is flame retardant and do not emit toxic substances, which is why they are so often incorporated in public buildings, where the most stringent safety regulations apply.
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Polycarbonate sheets can have a service life of over a decade. Polycarbonate can be recycled or it can be disposed of via incineration or landfill, according to local regulations
One of the differences between polycarbonate and glass, is that polycarbonate expands/contracts more under the influence of temperature (which is typical for all plastic sheets). The coefficient of thermal expansion (_) for polycarbonate is 0.065 mm/m °C. Let's suppose you have to install a sheet in an area where the temperature difference between the hottest day in summer and coldest day in winter is 55°C. This means that the difference in dimensions of the sheet will vary by 55 x 0.065 = 3.575 mm per metre sheet length/width. This difference must be absorbed by the system used to mount the sheets. In most cases, polycarbonate sheets are clamped in aluminium glazing bars, which typically have a rabbet depth of 20 mm, and which allow for some movement of the sheet within the glazing system. Other types of glazing systems can of course also be used, as long as they take this expansion into account. In case of doubt, you can refer to the technical documentation of one of the polycarbonate sheet suppliers.
Polycarbonate is almost unbreakable. It is many times more impact resistant than any other transparent material used for glazing or roofing purposes. Many types of tests are used to measure impact strength, so it is difficult to compare data. Solid polycarbonate sheets comply with most tests issued on the impact strength of glazing materials. To give an idea: a 3 mm-solid polycarbonate sheet withstands the force of a steel ball of about 4 kg dropped from a height of 9.5 m, 3 times in a row. It does not break or shatter! When you take a look at some of the more industrial applications, you will see that polycarbonate is used for machine glazing, police riot shields, ice-hockey rinks... all applications that require extreme impact resistance.
Single polycarbonate sheets are not bullet resistant, but there are special polycarbonate laminates on the market that are bullet proof. The main advantages over bulletproof glass are polycarbonate's light weight, and the fact that they do not shatter or splinter upon impact. Because of these properties, they are often used in vehicle glazing. Some producers of laminated glass also make laminates of glass with polycarbonate, which are bulletproof.
All polycarbonate sheets destined for building applications are UV-protected. This is achieved by a thin layer of UV-absorbing material that is inextricably bound to the sheet's surface. This layer absorbs and neutralises all harmful UV-rays present in sunlight. Such polycarbonate sheets typically have a 10-year warranty against weathering.
The Ug-value (formerly called the K-value) indicates how much heat is transmitted through the sheet. The lower the Ug-value the better the material is able to keep heat in. The insulation value of polycarbonate sheets is largely dependent on the geometry of the sheets. Solid polycarbonate sheets have about the same Ug-values as glass of the same thickness. Multiwall polycarbonate sheets offer improved Ug-values down to 1.4 W/m²K. The best results are obtained with multiwall polycarbonate sheets that have a lot of intermediate layers with intricate geometric structures.
On the other hand, during summer one might be looking for a material that keeps the heat out as much as possible. In this case, the shading coefficient (SC), the visible light transmission (Tvis) and the solar energy transmission (Rsol) are the indicators that need to be examined. Ideally, one looks for a material that lets the light pass through (high Tvis), but keeps out the heat of the sunlight (low Rsol and low SC). The ratio between these two opposite properties is expressed as the selectivity index: a high selectivity index means a lot of visible light, but little heat passing through the sheets. All suppliers have special types of polycarbonate sheets that offer improved heat reflection during summer. The combination of good insulation both during summer and winter give these types of multi-wall sheets their unique properties.
Regulations to calculate windloads differ from country to country. The admissible windload for a given construction varies with the type of sheet, the way it is installed, the size of the construction, etc. In order to determine which sheet is needed, you need to refer to the supplier’s technical data sheet, which contains guidelines according to the geometry of the sheets. For most simple glazing applications 10 mm and 16 mm multi-wall sheets will be sufficient from a technical point of view, thicker sheets are usually installed in order to get better insulation values. Special situations, like extreme windloads or very large glazing areas without extra supporting structures, may also require thicker sheets. Regardless of what kind of windload you have polycarbonate sheets can fit the task, but it is always necessary to check the technical guidelines to ensure that you are using the right kind of sheet.
Each structure of multi-wall sheet has its own property profile. The applications of multi-wall sheets are very diverse, calling for very diverse property profiles. For example, sheets used for conservatories must have high insulation values and are often installed as flat sheet, with as little supporting structure as possible. On the other hand, sheets used to make a carport must not give any insulation at all, and are often installed in a curved construction. This calls for two completely different types of sheets. And when you look at sheets used for the construction of a football stadium, that is yet another story. For each type of application you can find exactly the type of sheet you need, thanks to the wide range of multi-wall sheets available.
Each producer has technical literature, which can be obtained from local distributors or from the supplier's website. In case specific technical support is needed, you can always contact the supplier directly to get in touch with their technical support department.
Almost all material commonly used today in construction are compatible with polycarbonate. It is, however, good practice to check compatibility. Some hazards may occur if the wrong materials are used together - for example, silicone kits that contain bitumen must be avoided. The same goes for certain aggressive cleaning products. The rule here is to check the label of the material in question for its compatibility with plastics (polycarbonate). When in doubt ask the supplier for confirmation.
BPA stands for bisphenol A. It is an organic chemical which is the essential basic building block (intermediate) for polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Around two thirds of all BPA is used to produce polycarbonate, which is a highly durable, versatile, heat and shatter-resistant, transparent plastic found in a wide range of essential consumer applications. Numerous studies and regulatory assessments have shown that BPA and BPA-based products pose no risk to human health or the environment. Moreover, banning would unnecessarily remove thousands of crucial everyday products from our lives and have a severe social and economic impact. In order to read more about it please visit: http://www.bisphenol-a-europe.org/ or http://www.bisphenol-a.org/