Acrylic and polycarbonate are often recognised as direct competitors, due to their similar appearance and both being a popular choice of the material when it comes to manufacturing domes.
You may find yourself deciding on polycarbonate vs acrylic and how can you pick between the two materials when at first glance they are so difficult to differentiate? It’s quite easy in fact, the characteristics of acrylic plastic and polycarbonate are both quite different and the decision between using either material largely comes down to which is more suitable for your purpose, rather than which is the ‘better’ form of plastic.
Polycarbonate and acrylic are both types of plastic, and as you probably guessed, both are impressively resistant to forceful impacts. Apart from being compared to each other, these forms of plastic are often compared to glass due to their transparent appearance. When it comes to damage resistance, acrylic and polycarbonate come out on top every time. Both Acrylic and polycarbonate are impressively resistant to impact, dealing with forceful blows that would reduce glass domes to hundreds of shards. This, therefore, makes them safe to use for both the business hoping to add them to their premises and the customers or visitors who will interact with it on a day to day basis.
However, this blog is not a comparison with glass but between the two plastic rivals themselves, and if a decision had to be made regarding which was the most damage resistant, polycarbonate emerges as the victor. Polycarbonate can resist over thirty times the impact that glass can, whereas acrylic boasts between ten and twenty-four times the resistance of glass. Despite the strength of acrylic, polycarbonate still reigns supreme as the most damage resistant of the two dome choices.
Therefore, if you’re expecting your dome to encounter forceful impact throughout its lifespan, polycarbonate domes are the choice for you.
If the colour, and more importantly, a varying number of colours is of primary importance to your plastic dome, acrylic domes are a stand out winner over their competitor polycarbonate. Acrylic is available in an astonishingly varied colour pallet, whereas the colour options for polycarbonate domes are much more limited and mainly available in clear and opal.
Another reason acrylic domes comfortably win the colour category is the long-lasting clarity that acrylic maintains regardless of its location. On the other hand, when exposed to UV rays for prolonged periods of time, the colouring on polycarbonate domes can diminish and develop a yellow hue if not a UV stable grade of polycarbonate.
For that reason, if your plastic dome is intended to remain outdoors for long periods of time then acrylic is likely to be the best material to use for your dome. We provide a wide selection of domes and plastic constructions suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications. Our team are always on hand to help you decide on your next project and the best type of material for you to utilise, so you can come to an informed decision when choosing polycarbonate vs acrylic.
Maintaining the cleanliness of both polycarbonate domes and acrylic domes can pose some difficulty, as knowing the correct methods and equipment is essential to the upkeep of both materials. Of the two, polycarbonate domes are more likely to succumb to scratches. Due to this, when cleaning polycarbonate domes, rough sponges or brushes should be avoided where possible, as well as abrasive cleaning solutions. Although acrylic is more resistant to scratches, these methods of cleaning should also be avoided to stay on the safe side. Both plastic solutions can be sufficiently cleaned with ordinary soap and warm water.
It is worth noting that neither plastic acrylic nor polycarbonate is not as resistant to harsher chemicals when compared to glass and only glass cleaners should be used to clean them. Solvents and abrasive cleaners will damage the surface of both acrylic and polycarbonate domes.
Once damage has been inflicted upon polycarbonate domes, it is difficult to rectify whereas acrylic domes can recover from minor scratches for little to no expense or effort. If you have a dome that has suffered damage, why not get in touch? We can assist with the creation of a new dome or the replacement of your damaged project with the exact same thing made from our plastic.
When new, the difference in transparency is difficult to distinguish when looking at polycarbonate vs acrylic with acrylic marginally the clearer. However, as time passes, if your plastic dome is outdoors, the yellow hue that unprotected polycarbonate domes develop over several years will seriously hinder its transparency. Also, as both materials slightly lose their transparency over time, acrylic can be polished to regain its clarity whereas this is not possible with polycarbonate.
One difference between the two that many customers ponder is just how much can their use stretch across different applications? We tend to see that acrylic domes are used across small scale projects that you would see in applications that range from playgrounds to surveillance areas and even underwater! Whereas polycarbonate domes are often found as a component of large scale areas such as on roofs or in industrial areas where their uses may be benefitted from.
One characteristic that is likely to be rather important to you is the price of the two materials in question, and the answer may surprise you. Polycarbonate is usually much more expensive than the alternative acrylic. Polycarbonate can even be up to three times more expensive when compared to acrylic. Before purchasing the plastic solution of your choice, it is important to research how expensive your particular project will be. This can vary greatly depending on the availability of the materials needed and how much of it will be required.
From the several categories discussed above, you can see that each of these plastics have both advantages and disadvantages to their use. The properties that acrylic carries make it more naturally suited to be used for camera domes and similar devices and applications. Acrylics noticeably impressive optics coupled with its hardness and relatively low cost make it the perfect material. On the other hand, polycarbonate is more suited for differing applications. Its impact absorbent properties make it the ideal solution for playground domes and other highly abused domes.
Both acrylic and polycarbonate can also be used for a variety of other purposes and are not exclusive to the uses discussed in this blog post. If you have a query regarding the acrylic domes or polycarbonate domes we offer and would like some assistance when considering polycarbonate vs acrylic, contact an expert at Talbot Designs today on 020 8346 8515. Alternatively, you can reach out to us via our email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are polycarbonate domes used for?
Due to their high standards of durability and security, it’s not uncommon to find polycarbonate domes used in large scale projects. They may be seen in the industrial field, finding a home in areas that need to let natural light in but want a material that is more accessible and tougher than glass windows. It is also much easier to form shapes out of polycarbonate domes, allowing their versatility to make them an attractive option for those that are looking for a valuable source of light.
They are also a popular solution for roofs for this same reason. These materials will not only let a fantastic swathe of natural light into your building, but their durability means that they are able to cope with all weather conditions, no matter how challenging they may be. They are also extremely resistant to impact, giving you the extra peace of mind and security that your building will be able to cope with any potential break-in attempt.
If you’re looking for an industrial plastic, then polycarbonate definitely wins the polycarbonate vs acrylic debate!
How big can polycarbonate domes be?
The truth is, any size you require! Here at Talbot Designs, we are experienced enough in the trade to provide domes of all kinds of sizes, solely dependant on your requirements. So, if you feel like you require a dome that is on the larger side, you needn’t worry about our response.
We understand that the industrial usage of these kinds of domes means that they are likely to be large scale. This is why we are well experienced in ensuring that all needs are met. Whether you require polycarbonate domes as part of a small scale project or need a dome to fit something much larger, we have you covered.
Simply get in touch with our friendly, knowledgeable team today and we will gladly discuss your requirements in detail.
How do polycarbonate and acrylic domes compare to glass?
Of course, acrylic and polycarbonate domes largely have the same uses as glass, which raises the question of their compatibility compared to this material. Compared to glass, polycarbonate and acrylic are much more accessible and feasible on a large scale. For example, a glass dome will need to be moulded to five times the thickness of its plastic counterparts in order to achieve the same level of strength.
This can greatly affect its efficiency and the overall cost of the project, meaning that acrylic and polycarbonate appear to be the obvious choices when it comes to figuring out which material to opt for. As well as this, the thick glass can greatly affect the level of light that is let through, which will likely lead to disappointing results.