Polycarbonate is a plastic material with excellent mechanical properties. This polymer is made from the polycondensation of bisphenol A (BPA) and a carbonate or phosgene, or by cold mixing in a catalyser.
The resulting material is highly transparent, making it useful for optical lenses, CDs and DVDs, thermal camera lenses (infrared cameras) or headlight covers for cars. Its excellent shock resistance makes it a very suitable material for making motorcycle helmets and police shields as well as furniture and smartphone cases.
PC is robust and almost unbreakable, making it the material of choice for safety screens and technical products. It is 2x lighter than glass yet 250x more resistant!
Polycarbonate is completely fire resistant. It actually has the B1 fire rating, which means it will not burn in contact with a naked flame. PC is more resistant than acrylic, so the risk of breakage is very low. The material can therefore be sawn, milled, engraved, drilled, bent (with heat), glued and polished in the same way as an acrylic plate.
Finally, polycarbonate is also known for its durability. It has a long lifespan while still being fully recyclable. PC is reusable for the manufacture of various plastic objects, once any added materials have been separated off.
The main drawback of polycarbonate is its high sensitivity to scratches. It can scratch easily if an object comes into contact with its surface. Not to worry though – this problem can be solved by polishing the material.
The phosgene-based manufacturing process has a number of drawbacks, including the toxicity of the phosgene, the use of solvents, and a large amount of waste water containing methylene chloride which must be treated.
There is no harmonised recovery system in Switzerland for recycling polycarbonate. It can only be recycled in its “pure” form, once any added materials have been separated off.
We can make your next PC items, but we can also offer you in particular new recycled or non-fossil-derived materials to help you reduce your environmental footprint. Feel free to contact us to discuss your future project.