Are you trying to decide between acrylic (PMMA) and polycarbonate (PC) for your next project? You're not alone! Both materials are popular in many industries, but which one is the best?

In this article, we'll take a look at both materials and compare their properties, cost, applications, and environmental impact. We'll also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each material so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.

So read on to learn more about acrylic (PMMA) vs polycarbonate (PC): Which Is The Best?

Overview of Acrylic (PMMA) and Polycarbonate (PC)

Overview of Acrylic (PMMA) and Polycarbonate (PC)

You've heard of these two materials, but you're not sure which one is the right choice for your project. Let's take a look at their differences and similarities to help decide.

Acrylic, also known as PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate), is a transparent thermoplastic with excellent clarity and strength. It's lightweight and shatter-resistant, making it ideal for applications such as windows, displays, aquariums, furniture, and signage.

Polycarbonate (PC), on the other hand, is an extremely durable material that offers excellent impact resistance and flexibility. It can be used in applications such as bulletproof glass, eyeglasses lenses, medical devices, and automotive parts due to its high heat tolerance.

Both materials are widely available in various shapes and sizes, so you will have plenty of options to choose from when deciding which will best suit your needs. While they may have some overlapping uses, they each offer unique benefits - it just depends on what kind of project you're working on!

Properties of Acrylic (PMMA)

Acrylic (PMMA) is a great material for many applications. It has impressive impact strength, transparency, and chemical resistance. Its high impact strength means it's less likely to break or crack if it's hit with force. Additionally, its exceptional transparency allows for more visible clarity than glass can offer. Finally, it also offers superior chemical resistance against solvents, acids, and bases, making it ideal for a variety of uses.

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Impact strength

You want a strong material, so consider the impact strength of both acrylic and polycarbonate - it could make all the difference.

Acrylic (PMMA) offers excellent impact strength when compared to glass, but its resistance to stress cracking is lower than that of polycarbonate. This means that under some conditions, such as impacts or sudden temperature changes, polycarbonate may be more suitable than acrylic. However, PMMA remains highly resistant to shattering and breakage even under extreme weather conditions. Additionally, it can be used in applications where vibration damping is necessary due to its flexibility when heated and cooled.

Polycarbonate, on the other hand, does offer superior impact strength when compared with acrylic. However, this comes at a cost as it is more brittle and prone to cracking if exposed to certain chemicals or temperatures outside of its operating range. It is also harder to work with since it requires specialized tools for cutting and shaping. Polycarbonate can also become cloudy over time due to UV rays from sunlight exposure.

Ultimately, you need a material that will survive your specific environment. Whether you choose acrylic or polycarbonate depends on what you're looking for in terms of strength vs flexibility!


Transparency of Acrylic (PMMA) and Polycarbonate (PC)

When it comes to transparency, you can't have your cake and eat it too - both acrylic and polycarbonate offer unique advantages that may be better suited for certain applications.

Acrylic is known for its clarity and light transmission properties, making it best-suited for projects that require high optical qualities such as windows, aquariums, or retail displays.

On the other hand, polycarbonate boasts a higher level of impact strength than acrylic while still offering good transparency.

This makes polycarbonate an ideal choice for projects requiring durability and flexibility such as safety shields, machine guards, or helmet visors.

Ultimately, the choice between acrylic or polycarbonate will depend on the needs of each individual project.

Chemical resistance

Withstanding harsh chemicals and abrasive materials, acrylic and polycarbonate are both strong contenders when it comes to resisting chemical corrosion; however, one shines brighter than the other with its renowned resilience.

Acrylic (PMMA) is highly resistant to most common solvents like acetone, alcohols, and oils. It's also not very reactive to acids or bases except for concentrated sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide solutions.

On the other hand, polycarbonate (PC) is especially known for its superior resistance to strong acids and alkalis. Not only that but it's also more temperature resistant than PMMA - meaning that you can trust PC for those tougher applications.

So when it comes down to chemical resistance, PC stands out as the clear winner! However, if you're looking for a material that will be exposed to less intense environments then PMMA may be your best bet due to its lower cost and availability in different colors.

Properties of Polycarbonate (PC)

PC offers excellent durability and optical clarity, making it a great choice for many applications. Its superior impact strength makes it ideal for security glazing or bulletproof glass. PC also has good resistance to temperature fluctuations and chemicals such as acids, oils, and alkalis. It's even resistant to rotting and fungus growth.

Plus, its light weight compared to other materials makes it easy to install and move around. All these properties make PC an excellent option for industrial and commercial products that require a strong, durable material with high clarity levels. With its versatility in design possibilities, you can create stylish and reliable products.

Cost Comparison

If you're looking for an affordable yet strong and durable material, polycarbonate is the way to go! This thermoplastic material offers great cost-effectiveness when compared to other modern materials such as acrylic (PMMA).

Here are just a few reasons why polycarbonate can help you save money:

  1. Polycarbonate's durability means that it won't need to be replaced often like other materials.
  2. Polycarbonate costs much less than its alternatives, making it a more economical choice in the long run.
  3. Its lightweight nature makes it easy and inexpensive to transport and install, saving time and energy on installation costs.
  4. Polycarbonate is also very easy to work with and shape into desired products, helping reduce labor costs significantly.

With all these advantages combined, polycarbonate is one of the most cost-effective materials available today! Paired with its strength and durability, this thermoplastic is perfect for any project where affordability is a priority without sacrificing quality or performance!

Applications of Acrylic (PMMA)

Acrylic Optical Lenses

Ok, so you want to know which plastic is better for your project -- acrylic (PMMA) or polycarbonate (PC)?

Well, let's take a look at the specific applications of acrylic. When it comes to cost efficiency and versatility, no other material can compete with PMMA!

It can be used for a variety of projects, ranging from window panes and optical lenses to medical components and aquariums. Plus, its shatter-resistant qualities make it great for safety purposes as well.

Acrylic is also lightweight yet durable enough for long-term use. And thanks to the many available colors and textures, it can easily be customized to fit any desired design.

So if you're looking for an affordable and reliable option that's easy to customize - go with acrylic!

Applications of Polycarbonate (PC)

Polycarbonate (PC) is an incredibly versatile material with a variety of applications. It has become the go-to choice in automotive components, medical equipment, and electronics components due to its strength, lightness, and transparency.

You'll find PC used in products from headlight lenses to MRI machines - it truly is a remarkable material!

Automotive components

You can't go wrong when choosing either acrylic (PMMA) or polycarbonate (PC) for automotive components - they're both unbelievably tough and reliable!

Polycarbonate is the material of choice for many automotive parts, from windshields to side mirrors. It's lightweight, shatterproof, and able to withstand a wide range of temperatures. This makes it an ideal material for parts that require high levels of strength and durability.

Here are 4 ways in which PC components outperform their competitors:

  1. They're more resistant to damage than most other materials.
  2. The weight is significantly lower than other materials used in the automotive industry.
  3. They provide superior impact resistance compared to alternative materials.
  4. They have greater flexibility and can be tailored to suit any design specifications desired by automakers.

The advantages of PC components make them invaluable assets for carmakers looking for increased safety and performance from their vehicles, while maintaining a competitive edge in terms of cost savings and sustainability goals.

With such versatile features, it's no wonder why so many manufacturers turn to PC when creating automotive components!

Medical equipment

Applications of Polycarbonate (PC)

When it comes to medical equipment, both acrylic (PMMA) and polycarbonate (PC) are great choices for ensuring quality and safety. Acrylic is a lightweight plastic that's often used in medical settings due to its strong durability. It's resistant to heat, chemicals, and impact-resistant.

Polycarbonate is also a lightweight plastic that has superior optical properties compared to other plastics. Additionally, it can withstand high temperatures and impacts without fracturing or shattering. Both materials have low toxicity levels, making them ideal for use in medical environments where safety is paramount.

Both acrylic and polycarbonate can be easily molded into complex shapes while still maintaining their strength and durability. This makes them useful in many types of medical equipment such as syringes, catheters, imaging devices, hearing aids, prosthetic parts, and more.

They're also easy to clean, which helps ensure the safety of patients by reducing the risk of contamination from bacteria or other contaminants. Ultimately, either material can provide an excellent choice when it comes to selecting a material for use in medical equipment. However, PC may be preferable for some applications due to its superior optical properties over PMMA.

Electronics components

Now let's move on from medical equipment and talk about electronics components. It's no surprise that when it comes to these components, you want the best of the best.

Acrylic (PMMA) and polycarbonate (PC) are two popular materials used in electronic components, so which one is truly the best? Let's dive into their differences and discover which one is the ultimate choice for your next project.

Acrylic (PMMA) may not be as strong as polycarbonate (PC), but it has a few advantages over its counterpart. PMMA is lightweight and shatter-resistant, making it perfect for more delicate applications such as smartphone screens or other small parts. Additionally, PMMA can be injection molded into complex shapes with great accuracy, allowing for intricate designs with minimal effort.

On the other hand, PC is incredibly strong and resistant to heat and chemicals, making it ideal for larger projects such as car headlights or outdoor signs. The downside of using PC over PMMA is that it cannot be injection molded due to its brittle nature - meaning intricate designs require much more work.

Ultimately, you should choose whichever material suits your project's needs the best - both acrylic & polycarbonate have their own unique strengths!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Both Materials

Comparing their benefits and drawbacks, it's a tough call to decide which material is the cream of the crop. Acrylic (PMMA) has excellent optical clarity and weatherability, making it great for outdoor applications. It's also highly resistant to chemicals, ultraviolet light, and scratching. However, PMMA is prone to cracking under extreme temperatures.

On the other hand, polycarbonate (PC) offers superior impact resistance compared to acrylic with its ability to absorb energy from impacts without shattering or breaking. Furthermore, PC can be easily thermoformed into almost any shape or form. But, PC has poor heat resistance.

To summarize, here are 3 advantages and disadvantages between them:

  1. Advantages: PMMA is very durable while PC provides excellent impact resistance.
  2. Disadvantages: PMMA is prone to cracking under extreme temperatures while PC has poor heat resistance.
  3. Costs: PMMA costs less than PC but has a shorter lifespan due to its lower durability ratings.

It's up to you which one fits your needs better, but no matter what you choose, both materials can provide long-lasting protection for your project!

Environmental Impact

Both materials have their own environmental impacts, and it's important to consider that when deciding which one is right for your project. Acrylic (PMMA) has a relatively low environmental impact because it can be recycled, and the manufacturing process does not produce any hazardous byproducts.

On the other hand, polycarbonate (PC) has a much higher environmental impact due to the fact that its manufacturing process produces toxic byproducts like bisphenol-A. Additionally, PC cannot be recycled, so if it ends up in landfills, it will stay there indefinitely.

Ultimately, both acrylic and polycarbonate have their pros and cons with regards to their environmental impact. However, if you're looking for an eco-friendly option for your project, then acrylic would be the better choice here as it has a lower environmental cost associated with its use and production.


In conclusion, it's important to take into account both the environmental impact and practicality of each material when making a decision about which one to use for your project. They both have their advantages and disadvantages that should be weighed carefully.

Acrylic (PMMA) is a strong, lightweight plastic that has low environmental impact. However, its cost may be prohibitive for some projects.

Polycarbonate (PC), on the other hand, is more expensive but offers superior strength and durability compared to acrylic.

Ultimately, it's up to you to determine which material works best for your project needs in terms of practicality and environmental considerations. With the right research and comparison of each material's pros and cons, you can rest assured that you'll make the best decision possible.