There are 3 principal properties which will help in making your choice.
A. Firstly, is the impact strength?
Polycarbonate is approximately 250 times stronger than glass and virtually unbreakable. Acrylic is approximately 50 times stronger and Polystyrene is approximately 10 times.
B. Fire Rating :
All thermoplastics have a fire rating. Obviously, some sheets perform better than others, and the exact results can be found on the technical properties / data sheets relating to each specific product.
In brief and as a general rule of thumb – Polycarbonate has the highest / best rating, Acrylic would be considerably lower and Polystyrene would be the lowest of these three categories listed here.
In general terms Polycarbonate is the most expensive, Acrylic approximately 20% less, and Polystyrene 30 – 40% less.
Remember, if you need to replace a glazing panel more than once the initial cost, which may appear expensive, can be cheaper in the long run. We’re here to help, contact our sales staff for their knowledgeable and experienced advice.
Quality is paramount when looking for the correct material for the job. Ask for referrals / previous jobs of the same or similar nature using the same materials.
Ask about certification, test standards (British Standard, DIN, UL etc.), warranty and fire classification. These can be found on the technical properties / data sheets relating to each specific product on this website.
We offer a FREE cut to size service.
Access Plastics Ltd has the only CNC PolyCut saw in the Republic of Ireland for cutting “Marlon S/T” multiwall polycarbonate sheets.
We can offer template cutting for conservatory roofs to within 1mm accuracy. On solid plastic sheet we have 2# “Homag” Beam saws and a further 2# Altendorf panel saws, capable of accuracy to less than + /- 0.5mm.
Combined with the CNC routers available within our sister company APM Ltd. (Access Plastic Manufacturing Ltd.) we can offer router cutting of detailed and intricate shapes. There is a charge for CNC routering.
We offer next day delivery in Dublin & a nationwide delivery service.
Access Plastics Ltd has a fleet of more than 6 dedicated delivery vehicles. Ranging in size from Mercedes vans to DAF & Iveco rigid body curtain sided trucks we can deliver sheets from 7metres long down to cut panels.
By operating our OWN fleet, each driver radio contactable, we have full quality control. We can ensure timed deliveries. Sheets arrive with you, our customer, in prime condition exactly as they left our factory.
Acrylic (also known as perspex)
Acrylic is a a glassy thermoplastic material available in sheet form, ideal for a wide variety of applications in the display, fabrication and building industries due to its excellent thermoforming capabilities.
Acrylic offers good optical clarity and outstanding weatherability, however It is not as strong as polycarbonate.
POLYCARBONATE(also known as lexan)
Polycarbonate is a transparent plastic material with an incredibly high resistance to impact. For this reason it is sold as a ‘virtually unbreakable’ plastic material. Matched with the same thickness in glass, polycarbonate is over 200 times more impact resistant and also half the weight.
For this reason its major uses include roofing, protective screens, safety glazing, visors and fabrication for a variety of interior and exterior uses.
Polycarbonate Multi-wall is a hollow, fluted UV protected sheet used in conservatory roofing and exterior roofing applications.
A thermoplastic material composed of polymers of ethyelene. In its standard form, it is a translucent, tough, waxy solid which is unaffected by water and and a large range of chemicals.
A tough, light weight plastic similar to polyethylene but stiffer and having a higher softening point.
Exceptional shock resistance properties, scratch resistant and used in a wide range of industries including automobile parts, household goods, fibres, film and even Australian bank notes!
PTFE -Polytetrafluoroethylene is also known as Teflon®.
Invented in 1938 and used throughout the medical sector, microwave circuitry and also as a coating on frying pans!
It is a slippery, chemically inert plastic and when used in applications on bearing surfaces, the material exhibits a natural lubricity, meaning manual or machine lubrication is completely unnecessary. As such, it has an inherent low coefficient of friction.
Polyvinylchloride. Used in soft flexible films for food packaging and in molded rigid products such as pipes, fibers, upholstery, and bristles.
PVC can be com-pounded into flexible and rigid forms through the use of plasticizers, stabilizers, fillers, and other modifiers; rigid forms are used in pipes; flexible forms are used in the manufacture of sheeting and roof membrane. PVC is very popular as a wall cladding material.
PET sheets are high quality, extruded, solid plastic sheets made from amorphous polyethylele terephthalate (aPET).
PET can be used in a variety of applications ranging from printed substrates in advertising to complex thermoformed components used in the food industry.
CORRIBOARD: A hollow fluted polypropylene sheet popular, used in election posters and one of the cheapest signage materials available. The exterior surface has a slightly corrugated effect, caused by the internal walls througout the sheet.
ALUMINIUM COMPOSITE: (also known as Probond, Di Bond) A sheet composed of a bond of aluminium exterior skin and a polyethylene interior core. ideal for outdoor applications and providing exceptional rigidity and flatness as a printing surface.
VINYL: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) film used in sign making, is backed with an adhesive that creates a strong bond to fix it to a surface when pressure is applied. Available in a range of colours and width sizes.
Polycarbonate Vs Acrylic
Polycarbonate vs Acrylic Plastic. Great video showing how different these materials are when put through the ultimate stress test:
Polycarbonate windshields are put to a brutal impact test, ranging from rocks and hammers to baseball bats and buckshot.
The same tests were then applied to acrylic, impact modified acrylic and aircraft acrylic motorcycle windshields.
To calculate the weight of a sheet we firstly need the Density or Specific Gravity of the specific material. This is to found on the technical data sheet listed under each product heading. However, here are some of the more frequently used materials:
MarLon” Solid Polycarbonate – 1.2 g/cm3
MarCryl” Solid Acrylic – 1.19 g/cm3
Trovidur” Solid P.V.C. – 1.47 g/cm3
PolyStone P“ Solid Polypropylene – 0.91 g/cm3
PolyStone G” Solid HD Polyethylene – 0.96 g/cm3.
Secondly, we need the area of the sheet / panel (ie 2m Length x 1m Width x 3mm Thickness). Note the Length and Width is taken in meters (m) and the thickness in millimeters (mm).
The Formula is SG x L X W X T = Weight Kgs. (Specific Gravity / Density x Length (m) x Width (m) x Thickness (mm) = Weight in Kgs)
Example #1 :- Marlon” Solid Polycarbonate sheet / panel size 3.05m x 2.05m x 6mm. 1.2 g/ cm3 x 3.05m x 2.05m x 6mm = 45.018 Kgs / sheet.
Example #2 : Trovidur” Rigid P.V.C. sheet / panel size 2.44m x 1.22m x 9mm. 1.47g / cm3 x 2.44m x 1.22m x 9mm = 39.383 Kgs / sheet.
A mild detergent with lukewarm water and a soft cloth or clean sponge should be used when cleaning all thermoplastic sheets. Always rinse thoroughly with clean water.
Ethyl Alcohol can be used to remove paint and other such substrates. This should always be washed and rinsed thoroughly afterwards.
It is strongly recommended that a small sample or trial area is thoroughly tested prior to commencing any major project. The use of synthetic fabric cloths or harsh / abrasive proprietary cleaners should be avoided at all times.
There is a tendency for thermoplastic sheet materials to increase in size as the sheet increases in temperature. With solid thermoplastic materials, thermal expansion is usually described in terms of change in length, width, or thickness. Put simply it’s the expansion, or linear increase in size, as the temperature rises above ambient or room temperature.
This should be considered when glazing or fixing all thermoplastic sheets. Failure to do so can result in distortion, buckling and bowing. In extreme cases mechanical cracks, principally eminating from fixing holes, can arise. This can occur in Machine Guard applications.
When drilling locating holes always allow sufficent expansion or consider elongated / slotted openings, for further advise refer to our Fabrication Guidelines for Cutting and Drilling: Marlon FS Brochure
How do I calculate the Co-Efficent of Expansion?
Refer to our General Installation page #9 for Expansion Allowance Guidance - Marlon FS Brochure
|Size||Height x width (mm)||Height x width (in)|
|4A0||2378 x 1682mm||93.6 x 46.8in|
|2A0||1682 x 1189mm||66.2 x 46.8in|
|A0||1189 x 841mm||46.8 x 33.1in|
|A1||841 x 594mm||33.1 x 23.4in|
|A2||594 x 420mm||16.5 x 11.7in|
|A3||420 x 297mm||16.5 x 11.7in|
|A4||297 x 210mm||11.7 x 8.3in|
|A5||210 x 148mm||8.3 x 5.8in|
|A6||148 x 105mm||5.8 x 4.1in|
|A7||105 x 74mm||4.1 x 2.9in|
|A8||74 x 52mm||2.9 x 2.0in|
|A9||52 x 37mm||2.0 x 1.5in|
|A10||37 x 26mm||1.5 x 1.0in|
1” = 25.4mm ( or 2.54cm).
Simply convert all feet measurements to inches (X by 12) and then multiply by 25.4 to get millimeters or 2.54 to get centimeters.
1,000mm or 100cm = 1 meter.
1meter = 3.2808ft (or 39.3696”)
1 Square meter = 10.7636 square feet.
Please read the following fitting instructions:Multiwall Polycarbonate Roofing Fitting Instructions.pdf