April 21, 2024

Polycarbonate A Comprehensive Overview of Properties, Production, and Uses

Polycarbonate is a tough and impact-resistant thermoplastic that has found widespread use across many industries and applications. In this article, we will discuss the key properties and features of polycarbonate that make it a popular choice for diverse applications, along with some common uses.

Chemical Structure and Properties

Polycarbonate is a linear polyester composed of bisphenol A and phosgene. Its molecular structure contains carbonate groups that are linked together via ester bonds between phenol rings. This linear molecular structure gives polycarbonate its combination of high impact strength, optical clarity and temperature resistance. Some key properties of polycarbonate include:

– High impact strength – Polycarbonate has high impact strength even at low temperatures, making it shatter-resistant and damage resistant. It retains its strength over a wide temperature range.

– Thermal stability – It has a high heat deflection temperature ranging from 130 to 150 degrees Celsius under load. This allows it to be used even under high heat conditions.

– Optical clarity – Polycarbonate materials are transparent to light, enabling their use as a transparent glazing material in various applications.

– Self-extinguishing – Polycarbonate has an ability to self-extinguish in the event of fire, as it does not melt or drip. This makes it compliant with various safety standards.

– Dimensional stability – Polycarbonate resists warping and curling over a wide temperature range, maintaining its dimensions.

– Recyclable – At the end of its useful life, polycarbonate can be recycled and processed to manufacture new polycarbonate products.

Common Uses of Polycarbonate

Given its unique set of properties, polycarbonate finds use across many industries for both consumer and industrial applications. Some common uses of polycarbonate are discussed below:

Safety Equipment

– Protective eye wear: Polycarbonate is widely used for manufacturing protective eyewear like safety goggles and visors due to its high impact resistance and optical clarity.

– Bulletproof window panes: Polycarbonate glazing is used in security and ballistic applications for its ability to resist high-velocity impacts from projectiles while maintaining optical clarity.


– Automotive headlamps, taillights and signal lamps: The heat and impact resistance of polycarbonate make it suitable for automotive exterior lighting applications.

– Automotive interior panels: From instrument panels to interior trim pieces, polycarbonate allows diverse designs while offering durability and protection against damage.

– Automotive glazing: Polycarbonate glazing provides better protection than glass, withstanding collisions and minimizing occupant injuries.

Consumer Electronics

– Laptop and cell phone components: Polycarbonate resin is injection molded to manufacture laptop housing, casings for mobile phones, TVs and other electronics due to its strength and processability.

– Lens replacement covers: Broken phone lenses can be replaced with polycarbonate screens for a clear and flexible protection.

– Computer and electronics enclosures: Polycarbonate enclosures withstand shocks and impacts while dissipating heat efficiently.

Medical Devices

– Medical diagnostic devices: Features like autoclavability and chemical resistance make polycarbonate suitable for ultrasound and diagnostic equipment housings.

– Surgical equipment & accessories: Polycarbonate manufactured sterile dental mirrors, surgical tools, trays and tubing hold up to frequent sterilization procedures.

– Orthopedic implants: Select grades of polycarbonate are bio-compatible and offer strength to be used in orthopedic implant devices like screws, plates and rods.

Building and Construction

– Corrosion resistant piping: Polycarbonate piping system provides enhanced flow and long-term corrosion resistance for potable water transfer.

– Skylight glazing: Domed skylights and roof lights allow maximum daylight into buildings while being impact, UV and weather resistant.

– Greenhouse glazing: Polycarbonate films and sheets create durable glazing material for greenhouses, withstanding harsh weather and uv rays.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it