Polycarbonate (PC) is an amorphous thermoplastic with good mechanical and optical properties. The material is transparent with high light throughput, and can be used in both indoor and outdoor applications.
PC is used in e.g. lighting, vehicles, electronics, medical technology, and optics. The most striking property of PC is its high impact resistance. It is well suited to usage in low temperatures, and is often used in combination with other thermoplastics such as ABS and PBT due to its outstanding impact resistance.
Some less optimal aspects of PC include it not being particularly scratch resistant, which means that when it is used in applications such as car headlamp lenses these surfaces are often coated. The material should not be exposed to oxidizing acids or submerged in water at temperatures above 60°C for long periods of time.
PC is a clear-as-glass material that it very easy to color. It is available in both transparent and opaque variants. The material is relatively easy to make flame retardant, and there are variants available that meet high requirements on flame retardancy. Partly bio-based variants of Lexan PC are also available.
PC can be processed using the most common manufacturing processed such as extrusion blow molding and extrusion.
- Amorphous structure with a continuous operating temperature of 115–120°C
- High rigidity, hardness, and toughness over a wide temperature range (up to 135°C)
- Easy to color
- Flame retardant
- Limited chemical resistance (particularly sensitive to cracking and hydrolysis)
- Glass-transition temperature of 150°C