Lexan vs. Perspex Polycarbonate Sheets

12Mar

 

Lexan (Polycarbonate) and Perspex (acrylic) are branded names for polycarbonate sheeting. They are both durable materials that are often compared to each other because of similarities in some of their features. Each sheet is manufactured differently from various raw materials. The manufacturing process results in materials with physical properties that are suited for specific applications.

Perspex is a brand of acrylic plastic or methyl methacrylate (PMMA), which is a synthetic resin created from the polymerization of MMA. The resulting material under the name Perspex is transparent and rigid plastic. Perspex is a day-to-day material that can be found on most things such as skylights, Acrylic jewelry, illuminated signs, Acrylic Display cases, Acrylic Pool Guards, Shatterproof windows. Perspex has seventeen times the impact strength of glass, can be molded into any shape, offers a range of colors and thickness, excellent UV resistance, and a perfect alternative to glass.

Lexan polycarbonate has been traded under the name LEXAN or Makrolon and is best known for its incomparable strength as it has an impact strength of up to 250 times that of glass. This material is mechanically strong, robust, flexible, and fire-resistant. Additionally, LEXAN polycarbonate sheets are virtually bulletproof; that is why they are used as pop-up screens in banks and armored vehicles.

 

UV Light Resistance and Clarity

Lexan polycarbonate is protected from UV light by a film on both sides of the sheet. This film guarantees a 10-years outdoor service of the sheet. Perspex has an in-built UV chemical stabilizer within its material; thus, its outdoor service is guaranteed for 30 years.

Perspex (Acrylic) sheets have 92% light transmission to 89% of the Lexan Polycarbonate. Perspex is easy to polish using Brasso to remove fine scratches, while Lexan is rather hard to polish to remove marks and scratches.

 

Machine Cutting

The two materials can be cut using the conventional jig-saws, panel saws, and routers. When cutting these materials into manageable sheets, they must always be laid on a flat surface and strongly supported. To get the best results, it is recommended to utilise carbide-tipped negative-rake saw blades for ideal results. In Plasticut, we offer fabrication and customization of these sheets through our services Perspex cut to size and Lexan cut to size. These services use various industrial techniques and experts to cut these plastics in different sizes for industrial use.

 

Temperature tolerance

Perspex sheets offer a broad range of working temperatures from -4 Degree Celsius to 90 Degree Celsius. In an ideal condition, the Perspex sheets expand with changes in temperatures, therefore, it’s essential to allow room for expansion and contraction when working on large sheets.

The Lexan material can handle an even greater range of temperatures ranging from -5 to 115 Degree Celsius.

 

Polishing

Perspex sheets can be laser and diamond polished using a machine to provide smooth edges. You can also use hydrogen flame to polish Perspex, which is an industrial option. These options are available in the Plasticut service of Perspex cut to size Melbourne.

Lexan Polycarbonate can be polished using diamond tips, while the edges can be refined using the Tetra Hydro Furan Solvent. Wiping Lexan with Tetra Hydro Furan Solvent will give a matt finish.

Both materials can be polished to a mirror finish using wet and dry paper 800 then followed by 1000 and completing with a pistol drill, rag buff, aluminum buffing wax bar, and buffing the edge. Such polishing is  available in our Perspex Melbourne services.

 

Drilling and installation

When drilling into Lexan or Perspex, it is crucial to utilize a drill with a grounded tip or blunt drill to produce a neutral rake. When drilling these materials, always ensure they are properly anchored and avoid rushing. When the material drills quickly, the drill bit is too sharp.

For Perspex, when holes are placed close to the edge, the material will break. Always drill oversize holes and avoid pop rivets on Perspex as it will crack. When installing Perspex, use roofing screws with rubber washers and avoid overtightening the sheet to allow for contraction and expansion of the material. On the other hand, Lexan is virtually unbreakable.

 

Heat Bending

The Perspex sheets can be bent to create right angles on a heated line bender. This material can be thermos-formed to various shapes using the heat of above and between 165 and 170 Degree Celsius. To retain the form, Perspex has to be condensed over a former to maintain the shape.

Similarly, the Lexan sheets can be bent over a heated line bender. But Lexan is rather difficult to mold into shapes as the temperatures required to form shapes may range from 175 to 190 Degree Celsius. On the downside, the material cools rapidly; thus, it is hard to form.

 

Durability

The Lexan sheets are easily scratched compared to Perspex, so its durability depends on the area of usage. Lexan can be used for an earth-moving machine as it is impact resistant while Perspex can be used for a swimming pool fence guard. Perspex is a better chemical resistant material compared to Lexan. Both materials can be used on outdoor applications, although Lexan will require UV light shielding.

 

Cleaning

Both Lexan and Perspex are cleaned using soapy water and 100% cotton microfiber, or cloth. Water-based window cleaning reagents like Windex are perfect. You should never use any organic-based cleaners as they will react with the material causing damage.

 

Gluing

Solvents such as Dichlorethane or thickened glue like the ACRI-Bond 110 Adhesive or Weld-On 16 glue can be used to glue Perspex. The Lexan sheets can be glued using thickened glue or a solvent such as the Tetra Hydro Furan.

 

Color

Lexan polycarbonate material is produced in a variety of thicknesses such as 1.115 and 2 mm thick, which is clear, the 3, 4.5, and 6 mm thick, which may be clear, opal and tint, and the 10mm sheet which can be clear or tint color. Perspex sheet comes in a variety of thicknesses up to 50 mm thick. The 1.5 and 8 mm are clear while the 2, 12, 15, 20, and 25 mm thick sheets are either black, white, clear, or opal, while 4.5,6 and 10 mm thick offer other colors on top of black and white.

 

Conclusion

These two materials have their unique properties and should be selected based on the application. For example, Perspex sheets are desirable in areas where adverse weather conditions and in-service resistance is needed since Perspex can withstand harsh weather and sunlight.

Our Perspex Melbourne service uses Perspex sheets in motorcycle wind deflectors, helicopter windows, automotive rear lights, signage, and window glazing.

The Lexan sheets are ideal for roofing, police hand shields, signage, earth moving equipment, cabin windows, and machine safety guards as they are tough and high impact resistant. Lexan sheets should not be used in areas exposed to UV light.