Glass is often the go to choice for transparent material, known for its rigidity, optical clarity and premium finish. But glass is not without its drawbacks. High cost, heavy weight & low impact resistance are just a few of its negative properties. This begs the question, is there a suitable alternative for glass replacement?
Today’s plastic market offers a wide range of clear materials suitable for glass replacement. Acrylic (also referred to as Perspex®) and Polycarbonate (also referred to as Lexan® or Makrolon®) are two commonly used plastics that can address a number of the drawbacks of glass.
Glass is a very dense material, making the heavy weight an issue when working with it. Installation of a large panel needs extreme care and a number of people. Plastics like Acrylic & Polycarbonate weight less than half the amount of glass and prove to be a great glass replacement when weight is a critical factor.
Clarity & Light
Glass is known for its optical clarity, light transmittance and lifespan. The advancements of plastics have provided a wide range of options for matching these highly desired qualities. Glass has a light transmittance of 90% compared to 92% for Acrylic and 89% for Polycarbonate.
Both Acrylic & Polycarbonate supplied by Industrial Plastics are rated as UV stable and suitable for outdoor use. However continuous exposure to harsh conditions over an extended period of time can result in yellowing of the material. UV resistant polycarbonate sheet has a typical product outdoor guarantee of up to 10 years whereas clear cast Perspex® Acrylic sheet is guaranteed for 30 years outdoors.
Strength & Durability
Strength and durability are the main benefits of using plastic for glass replacement. Acrylic is 17 times stronger than glass and Polycarbonate is extremely impact resistant being 250 times stronger than glass. Unlike glass neither material will shatter however Polycarbonate can bend under high load bearing applications and Acrylic has the potential to crack under extreme impact.
Cost of Glass Replacement
Choosing plastic for glass replacement has big cost benefits with both Acrylic and Polycarbonate being significantly cheaper than glass.
Not only can Acrylic and Polycarbonate be suitable for clear glass replacement but it is also available in a wide range of colours, tints and finishes. This makes it suitable for a range of applications such as splash backs, feature walls, privacy screens, skylights and much more!
Unlike glass, Acrylic & Polycarbonate are very easy materials to work with. Industrial Plastics can easily cut, drill, machine, bend, mould and fabricate to a range of custom designs they greatly outweigh that of glass.
Contact us today with any enquiries about glass replacement or how we can provide a plastic solution for you.