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Acrylic VS Polycarbonate

Cast Acrylic


Cast acrylic is manufactured by casting the liquid monomer in molds, which can be made to various sizes and thicknesses. This process results in a highly durable, clear plastic that resembles glass in clarity nad transparency but is much lighter and more impact resistant. It is noted for its optical clarity, resistnace to UV light and weathering, making it an excellent choice for outdoor applications. It can be easily cut, drilled, formed and polished, making it popular for uses in signage, displays, skylights, and various decorative purposes.





Polycarbonate is a tough, transparent thermoplastic with extraordinary impact resistance, significantly greater than that of glass or other plastics. It is manufactured using an extrusion process, which makes it possible to create sheets with very consistent thickness. It is often used for bullet-proof glass, riot shields, and other applications where high impact resistance is critical. Additionally, it withstands extreme temperatures and has good dimensional stabiltiy, making it suitable for application ranging from eyewear lenses to protective cover in hasrsh environments.


Physical Properties



Cast Acrylic



1.19 g/cm³

1.2 g/cm³

Tensile Strength

65 MPa

70 MPa

Impact Resistance

0.35-1.5 kJ/m²

600-850 kJ/m²


Up to 92% light transmission

Up to 88% light transmission

Heat Resistance

Up to 95°C

Up to 130°C

Water Absorption



Which plastice is stronger?


Acrylic and Polycarbonate are both half the weight of a comparably sized piece of glass - and yet both plastics are much stronger than glass, providing much greater impact resistance. Arylic has 10 times the impact resistance of glass. Polycarbonate has 250 times the impact resistance of glass.


Both the materials are also shatterproof meaning that instead of shattering into lots of small and sharp pieces, acrylic and polycarbonate break into a few larger and duller shards that are easy to dispose of. This makes them safer than glass. 


As you can see, polycarbonate is the stronger material - and this is reflected in its common applications as an all-weather glazing material and as bulletproof 'glass'. 


Which plastic is clearer?


Both acrylic and polycarbonate are in clear-as-glass grade. In fact, acrylic can let more light through glass, with a transmission rate of 92% (glass is around 90%). While the latter with a transmission rate of 88% is often regared as UV-resistant as it is a common roofing material.


Which plastic is durable?


Both materials are weather resistant, deform by temperature without long-term or permanent shrinkage. Acrylic is more scratch resistant than polycarbonate, and will not yellow over time.


How to clean?

Both materials provide good resistance to acid but is generally poor facing with organic solvents. They are easy to clean with a micro fibre or 100% cotton cloths with warm soap water. Chemicals should never be used on acrylic. While polycarbonate has a higher chemical resistance. Note: Neither plastic should be cleaned with solvents.


Costs of Acrylic & PolycarbonateAcrylic is cheaper than Polycarbonate. The latter tends to cost about 35% more.



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