The Differences Between Acrylic and Polycarbonate

Category: clear acrylic, Polycarbonate

Acrylic and polycarbonate are two of the most popular plastics The Plastic People are asked questions about –  specifically what are the differences between acrylic and polycarbonate.  Here are some of the key areas to compare when choosing between acrylic and polycarbonate for your project.  We hope it helps – if you need more advice drop the friendly team at The Plastic People an email.

Strength – which is strongest

Polycarbonate is stronger than acrylic. That aside, both are very strong.

If you are comparing to glass, 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.

police riot shield – safe with polycarbonate

Acrylic is very rigid whereas polycarbonate can be bought in flexible grades. Acrylic cracks more easily than polycarbonate under stress.

Light – which has better clarity

Acrylic lets in more light with a light transmittance of 92% compared to  Polycarbonate which has a light transmittance of 88 percent.  That aside, both are used successfully for glazing – for example, polycarbonate is often used in bus shelter glazing as it is so strong and both acrylic and polycarbonate are used for secondary glazing.

secondary glazing – use either acrylic or polycarbonate

Acrylic can be polished to restore its clarity, while polycarbonate cannot.

Working with Acrylic & Polycarbonate

Acrylic can be used at temperatures ranging from -30 degrees Fahrenheit to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. It may expand and contract with changes in temperature although it won’t permanently shrink over time.

Polycarbonate can handle temperatures up to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Polycarbonate is also highly resistant to chemicals such as gasoline and acids.

Which is easier to cut

Both acrylic and polycarbonate can be cut with conventional tools such as saws or routers, though acrylic cuts easier than polycarbonate. Polycarbonate fights the initial push of a saw or router at the start of a cut.

Which is easier to drill

Acrylic will crack if it is drilled near an edge or with a drill bit not designed for plastic. Polycarbonate typically does not crack when being drilled even if drilled close to the edge with a standard drill bit.

Which polishes up better

The edges of acrylic can be polished smooth and to a high shine. Polycarbonate cannot be polished.

polished acrylic table

Which is easier to bend 

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

Which is easier to glue

Gluing with cements designed for acrylic and polycarbonate, acrylic gives a cleaner glue joint than polycarbonate.

Which is easier to keep clean

Both acrylic and polycarbonate are easy to clean. The best choice for cleaning is a micro fibre or 100% cotton cloths (no other types!).

Acrylic should only be cleaned with warm soap water or an acrylic cleaner.  Chemicals should never be used on acrylic.

Polycarbonate has a higher chemical resistance than acrylic; it can be cleaned by harsher cleaners containing chemicals such as ammonia.

Neither plastic should be cleaned with solvents.

Which is more durable

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 avoid touching them with anything made from abrasive binding agents.

Acrylic is more likely to chip than polycarbonate because it is less impact-resistant. It does not scratch as 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.

Which is cheaper

Acrylic is cheaper to than Polycarbonate.

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How To Clean Acrylic

Category: clear acrylic
Acrylic, also known as Plexiglas or Perspex, is a popular, plastic-based alternative to glass and is found in many homes in furniture such as coffee tables,  side tables,  fish tanks, picture frames, splashbacks and mirrors.  It is both decorative and functional.  But how do you clean the acrylic products in your home? Follow these handy tips from plastic product providers The Plastic People, and your acrylic furniture will continue to look like new for years to come.

  1. Wear rubber gloves and handle your acrylic by its edges
  2. Put your acrylic on a clean, lint-free surface – if it is a small piece of acrylic cover the area with paper towels; if it is a large piece, prop it against a wall or other surface.
  3. Only use either a soft cotton or micro fibre cloth
  4. Sweep your chosen cloth over both sides of your acrylic to remove any loose dust or dirt.

    use a suitable acrylic cleaner

  5. Spray a small amount of Acrylic Cleaner such as Vuplex onto a different soft cotton or micro fibre cloth – wipe this onto your acrylic. Wipe gently until the cleaner is totally gone. Use another clean cotton or microfiber cloth if you need to. Alternatively use warm soapy water.
  6. Let your acrylic dry and handle by its edges again to put it back into use.

Never use chemicals to clean acrylic – they will damage it

  • Any ammonia based cleaner eg)  window cleaner
  • Abrasive or caustic cleaners
  • WD-40 or any other petroleum-based chemical
  • Scrubbing pads or other abrasive pad
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Horse Stable Mirrors

Category: Mirrors

If your horse weaves a lot in his or her stable you might be thinking of installing a mirror in there in an effort to calm your horse down.  Research shows that putting mirrors into horse stables can reduce horse weaving.  We’re not experts in horses but we are experts in suitable mirrors which are light to hold, non-breakable and very safe to use.

courtesy of University of Minnesota

We understand weaving to be a side to side movement of a horse’s head and neck along with lifting and lowering of their hooves.  It sounds unsettling for all involved because weaving often happens because a horse is worried and stressed at being separated, left alone or confined.   Stable mirrors can help horses and ponies feel like they have company. Mirrors can also be useful for horses who become stressed and worried travelling and spending time at shows alone.

We have heard mirrors are best placed away from where horses eat in case they become protective!

Stable mirrors must be non-breakable so they are safe for your horse – just in case they are not happy with the mirror.  To this end look for an acrylic mirror. if it gets kicked or falls off the wall, it will not shatter like glass.  Horses react differently to mirrors; we hear some horses love them and others do not.  If you decide to choose a stable (acrylic) mirror things to look out for are your mirror being supplied with ready drilled holes so you can fix it easily, radius (rounded) corners so there are no sharp edges and precision cutting so you get the exact size you need.  Acrylic stable mirrors are easy to fit, they are very light to handle – much lighter than glass mirrors. The mirror should be fitted straight to a flat wall. If your stable wall is not flat, mount your acrylic stable mirror onto moisture resistant MDF backboard first and then onto the stable wall.

For advice about acrylic stable mirrors contact the friendly team at The Plastic People here.

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Quick Improvements With Acrylic

Category: clear acrylic

Acrylic is an amazing safe alternative to glass. Much lighter in weight and 100 x stronger than glass, acrylic is found in many of our homes as furniture such as coffee tables and side tables, fish tanks and picture frames, splashbacks and mirrors.  If you would like to bring a touch of glamour and / or protection to your rooms, acrylic is a great choice and to show you what we mean, here are a few of the projects our customers have completed using acrylic that we have cut to the size and shapesthey’ve required.  Add a little polishing around the edges of the acrylic and there’s gleaming and shining to impress.

glossy acrylic stylishly protects a table top – image courtesy of customer

Smartening up your tables is easy – for a high end look, use 4mm acrylic or 5mm acrylic cut to the size of your table with polished edges.

Precious, much loved items can be brought into every day use with acrylic over them as protection. They can

acrylic made into shelves

be transformed or repurposed.
With a little imagination you can even turn an unused space into a design feature. We love what this customer did with her window space.

acrylic window shelf

If you would like help choosing cut to size or cut to shape polished acrylic please let our friendly team at The Plastic People know or visit us here

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How To Remove Scratches From Acrylic

Category: clear acrylic
Acrylic, also known as Plexiglas or Perspex, is a popular, plastic-based alternative to glass.   It is an extremely versatile plastic, used widely around the home in furniture (such as coffee tables and side tables) fish tanks, picture frames, splashbacks and mirrors. It is both decorative and functional, and as a result an essential material.

polished acrylic table

But how do you remove scratches from acrylic products in your home? Follow these handy tips from plastic product providers The Plastic People, and your acrylic furniture will continue to shine.
Light scratches
Light scratches, as you can imagine, are much easier to combat than deep ones.
To do this effectively, you will need a special acrylic polish and some paper. You will need a variety of grade (thicknesses) of paper to complete the task.
1. Use two towels, one water-soaked and one dry, of 600 grade paper. Run the wet towel over the scratch, then the dry.
2. Your acrylic may look like there’s lot of little scratch marks on it, or that it now has a frosted appearance, but this will go away during the process.
3. Move to grade 800 wet and dry paper, and rub the scratch for another minute, then move onto grade 1200 and do the same.
4. Once this is done, clean and dry the area with acrylic polish and the acrylic should look like it has never been scratched!
Deeper scratches
Unfortunately, deeper scratches on acrylic products require a little more elbow grease to remove. The best way to determine whether the scratch is deeper or not, is to rub it with your fingernail. If you can feel it, you need to follow this method.
1. Instead of paper, you need to use 600-grit sandpaper to rub the affected area. Rub in a circular motion with the 600 grit to start, although you may need to move to 1200 grit, depending on the depth of the scratch.
2. Once this is done, dampen the sandpaper to wipe away any marks or debris. Use a fine sandpaper to polish everything up.
3. Finish off with some acrylic polish to add the shine back and your acrylic will be as good as new!
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