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PERSPEX® Sheet vs LEXAN Polycarbonate Sheet

Posted on 7 December 2018
PERSPEX® Sheet vs LEXAN Polycarbonate Sheet

There are many brands of Acrylic and Polycarbonate on the market today, but none more
recognisable than PERSPEX® Sheet (Acrylic) & LEXAN Sheet (Polycarbonate).
Each type is manufactured differently and both with different raw materials, with the end
result being physical properties of each material being suited to a particular application.

Acrylic is also known as PMMA is Polymethyl methacrylate. Is a synthetic resin produced
from the polymerization of methyl methacrylate. A transparent and rigid plastic.
This material trades under the name PERSPEX® along with a lot of other trade names.
PERSPEX® can be found in everyday life from woman's Acrylic jewellery to Acrylic
Display cases, shatterproof windows, skylights, illuminated signs & acrylic Pool Guards.
It has an impact strength 17 times stronger than glass, has excellent UV resistance, can be
made into virtually any shape, have a range of colours and thickness & is an excellent
alternative to glass as it does not shatter.

LEXAN Polycarbonate is sold under the trade name of LEXAN or Makrolon and has a
superior impact strength of up to 250 times that of glass, it is fire resistant & mechanically a
stronger but more flexible material.
LEXAN Polycarbonate is used in banks as pop up screens as the material is virtually bullet
proof, it is also used in armour guard vehicles & in areas where product or people can be
protected against vandalism.

UV LIGHT RESISTANCE & CLARITY:
LEXAN Polycarbonate has a UV protected film on both sides of the sheet of which gives a
guaranteed 10 years of service outdoors whereas Perspex® is guaranteed for 30 years as it
has in-built UV chemical stabilises within the material.

LEXAN Polycarbonate sheet has a 89% light transmission of light, compared to 92% for
Acrylic.
Acrylic can be polished using "Brasso" to remove fine scratches whereas Polycarbonate is a
lot more difficult to remove marks & scratches.

TEMPERATURE TOLERANCE:
PERSPEX® cast acrylic sheet has a wide range of working temperatures..from -4 Deg. C
up to 90 Deg. C.it will expand with temperature increase so care should be taken to
allow for expansion and contraction on large sheets.
LEXAN Polycarbonate on the other hand, can handle temperatures up to -5 to 115 Deg. C.

MACHINE CUTTING:
Both materials can be cut with conventional jig-saws, routers and panel saws.
The material must always be laid flat on a surface and be well supported, when doing any
cutting, use carbide tipped negative rake saw blades for best results. (Available at Bunnings)
PERSPEX® can be cut on a Laser Machine leaving polished edge or router cut whereas
LEXAN Polycarbonate can only be cut using a jig saws, routers & panel saws.

DRILLING / HOLE SAWS /INSTALLATION:
When drilling into PERSPEX® or LEXAN Polycarbonate, use a drill with a tip that has been
ground to give a neutral rake at the cutting edge(or use a blunt drill) Always have the
material well supported and do not rush, use a block of wood under where you are
drilling.. if it drills to easily the drill bits too sharp!
Do not place holes too close to the edge on Acrylic..the material will break..suggest
30mm in from edges. DO NOT POP RIVET Acrylic as it will crack, always drill an
oversize hole (6mm Dia.) and use roofing screws with a rubber washer when fitting. Do
not overtighten.this is to allow for expansion and contraction of the material. Whereas
Polycarbonate is virtually unbreakable.

CNC MACHINING:
Both materials machine well in a CNC machine. These machines use solid Tungsten Carbide
tool bits and can make any 3D design.
Both materials are machined to make various components used in Signage, engineering,
scientific, transport industries depending on application.

POLISHING:
PERSPEX® can be Laser cut to give a nice edge or diamond polished through a machine.
You can also use a hydrogen flame to polish the edgeall of which is not available to the
general publicthis is processed at our factory.
Alternatively both materials can be wet & dry paper 800, then 1000, then using a pistol drill
& a rag buff & aluminium buffing wax bar.buff the edge to a mirror finish.
LEXAN Polycarbonate can be diamond polished through a machine or by polishing the edge
using Tetra Hydro Furan solvent and wiping the edge of the polycarbonate..this will give a
matt finish only.

HEAT BENDING:
PERSPEX® sheet can be bent on a heated "Line Bender" to form a right angle bend.
Also thermo-formed to different shapes by heating up to 165 to 170 Deg. Cent.
It must be cooled over a former to hold its shape.

Polycarbonate sheet can also be bent on a heated "Line Bender" to form a right angle bend.
LEXAN Polycarbonate is very difficult to form to shape as the temperature needs to be up to
175 to 190 Deg Cent. The material cools very quickly and it is difficult to form.
GLUING:


PERSPEX® can be glued with solvents (Dichlorethane) or thickened glues such as Weld-On
16 glue..or ACRI-Bond 110 Adhesive.
LEXAN Polycarbonate can be glued using Tetra Hydro Furan solvent or a thickened glue
such as ACRI-Bond 105 adhesive.
CLEANING PERSPEX®/ LEXAN SHEET:
Both materials are easily cleaned using a 100% cotton cloth or microfiber and simple soapy
water..Water based window cleaners such as WINDEX are ideal.
Do not use any organic solvent based cleaners on these materials as they will attack the
surface causing damage..


DURABILITY:
LEXAN Polycarbonate Sheet scratches more easily than PERSPEX®, so it depends where it
is being used..LEXAN for a earth moving machine (requires impact resistance), Acrylic
for a pool fence guard (a guard only).
PERSPEX® sheet also has much better chemical resistance than LEXAN Polycarbonate.
Both products may be guaranteed for outdoor use, although LEXAN Polycarbonate does not
have the same UV guarantee than PERSPEX®.


PRICE:
LEXAN Polycarbonate sheet is approx.. 35% more expensive than a PERSPEX® sheet of
the same size and thicknessbut where you would use 4.5mm thick PESPEX®, you can
use 3mm Thick LEXAN Polycarbonate due to its toughness.


COLOUR SELECTION:
LEXAN Polycarbonate Sheet comes in range of thicknesses..
1, 1.5 & 2mm thick in Clear only.
3, 4.5, & 6mm thick, Clear, Opal & Tint,
10mm thick Clear & Tint colours.
PERSPEX® Sheet comes in a range of thicknesses up to 50mm thick.
1.5mm thick..Clear only
2mm Thick.Black, White, Clear & Opal
3mm Thick..full colour range
4.5mm Thick. Black, White, Clear & Opal & some colours
6mm. Thick. Black, White, Clear & Opal & some colours
8mm. Thick. Clear Only
10mm. Thick. Black, White, Clear & Opal & some colours
12mm. Thick. Black, White, Clear & Opal
15mm. Thick. Black, White, Clear & Opal
20mm. Thick. Black, White, Clear & Opal
25mm. Thick. Black, White, Clear & Opal


CONCLUSION:
Both materials have different properties and should be chosen depending on the application.
PERSPEX® sheet finds uses in areas where optimal weather and in-service resistance are
required, since it can withstand the weather, sunlight and the elements better than LEXAN
Polycarbonate.

PERSPEX® finds applications in areas such as signage, helicopter windows, motorcycle
wind deflectors, window glazing & automotive rear lights.

LEXAN Polycarbonate, due to its toughness and durability is more suited to Police hand
Shields, signage, roofing as it has high impact resistance to storm damage, earthmoving
equipment cabin windows, machine safety guards, bullet proof windows on armoured
vehicles & pop up bullet proof screens in banks.
LEXAN Polycarbonate is not the best choice for UV resistance but has many other
advantages as a material.