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Laser Safety Window Material: Polycarbonate Vs Acrylic

laser cutting protector

Wenting Wang |

Polycarbonate plate (PC) is made of polycarbonate polymer with advanced formula and the latest extrusion technology. PC board is a new type of high-strength transparent material, and is the best material to replace glass and plexiglass. Compared with laminated glass, toughened glass and insulating glass, PC board has excellent properties such as light weight, weather resistance, super strength, flame retardant and sound insulation. The acrylic plate is made of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) plate polymerized by methyl methacrylate monomer (MMA) and organic glass. Acrylic acid is an important plastic polymer material developed earlier. It is easy to burn, and its oxygen index is only 17.3, so it will not spontaneously ignite, but it is a flammable product. These two materials are generally used for the safety observation window of the laser engraving machine, but acrylic can not isolate and digest the heat generated by the high-power engraving machine during the engraving process. Acrylic inevitably has fire safety problems to a certain extent. Therefore, Monport launches fireproof viewing windows to ensure the safety of engravers as much as possible.


A Brief Introduction to Polycarbonate

Production process

The raw material of polycarbonate plate is polycarbonate. At present, the most common production process is extrusion molding process, which actually uses an extruder. For example, the processing of PC resin seen now is basically using imported extruders. Generally, some new technologies are adopted according to the production process requirements, such as whether the layering is single layer or double layer. Then the PC material is formed, and finally the common plate is formed. In fact, the production requirements of polycarbonate plates are relatively high. Therefore, the quality of polycarbonate board commonly used in the market is still very good, but the manufacturer cannot produce it in large quantities.

Product characteristics

As for polycarbonate plate, we can understand that it is a new type of high-strength light transmitting material. In fact, we compare it with glass. The impact resistance and explosion-proof performance of polycarbonate plate are much better than that of glass, and the light transmittance is almost the same as that of glass, so it is a very good material that can replace glass or plexiglass. For example, the most common polycarbonate plate is lighter and has better weather resistance than laminated glass, tempered glass, hollow glass, etc. In addition, it has a high flame retardant and sound insulation performance, and its installation is more convenient, so the range of use is very wide.

Material properties

For polycarbonate plate, we focus on mastering some characteristics of the material it forms. In fact, the most important content is mainly five points. The first point is that the wear resistance is very good, so it can be used in many safety fields. In addition, it has a strong UV protection function. The most important thing is that it also has a very high flameproof performance. Finally, it has excellent chemical resistance, such as acid resistance.

Application scope

The application of polycarbonate board is relatively good, which is mainly reflected in some public buildings. For example, we are familiar with the roofs of some large stadiums. If the transparent roof is adopted on the roof of the venue, we will find that the roof is installed with a material similar to glass, which is not glass, but polycarbonate plate. Therefore, polycarbonate plate can be widely used in roof skylight walkways and other rooms with temperature requirements. This shows that the light transmission performance and heat insulation performance of polycarbonate plate are very good.


What are the advantages and disadvantages of polycarbonate plate?


High strength

High strength includes the strength and impact strength of polycarbonate plate. Therefore, polycarbonate plate can also be used for positions with explosion-proof requirements. For example, we may have heard that explosion-proof glass is used in explosion-proof positions. In fact, polycarbonate plate can also replace explosion-proof glass in this aspect. In the process of laser engraving, if there is something leaking out, it may cause a certain impact on the cover, that is, the cover will explode, so polycarbonate plate is also a good choice.

Strong flame retardancy

Polycarbonate has good impact resistance, high refractive index, good production and processing characteristics, and has UL94V-0 flame retardant grade without additives. PC has high heat resistance and cold resistance, and can be used for a long time at - 60-120 ° C. It has no obvious melting point of 220-230 ° C, which is much higher than the melting point of general plastics.

According to various research data, polycarbonate plate has very high flame retardancy during processing. It can still maintain good effect and performance in the fire. Therefore, it can effectively prevent the spread of fire. In fact, this advantage also indicates that this kind of plate may be gradually accepted in the market.

Good sound insulation effect

Polycarbonate endurance board has obvious sound insulation effect, and has better sound insulation than glass and subadditive board with the same thickness. Under the same thickness, the sound insulation capacity of polycarbonate board is 3-4db higher than that of glass.

High transparency

Because the abbreviation of polycarbonate is a high molecular polymer containing carbonate groups in the molecular chain. PC is an amorphous polymer in glass state with almost no color, so it has very good optical properties, that is, it is a transparent plate similar to glass. The transmittance of PC plate is higher than 87%.In laser cutting, it is convenient for the engraver to better observe the process and condition of engraving.


The processing technology requirements are relatively high. The process requirements are relatively high. The polycarbonate plate is manufactured through the processing process of extrusion molding machine, and PC materials need to be extruded according to our requirements. At present, the extruder is basically imported. Therefore, the requirements for the production process are relatively high. In fact, the fundamental reason is that the melt viscosity of the material is relatively high and the fluidity is relatively poor. Therefore, the forming process is very difficult. This also determines that its price may remain relatively low.

Polycarbonate board has a biggest disadvantage that it is not resistant to chlorine hydrocarbon, alkali, ammonia, ketone and other media. If we choose polycarbonate plate, these materials may be easily corroded. Polycarbonate plate is generally not allowed to be used in the places of some chemical process products. In addition, the material of polycarbonate plate is easy to be corroded by chlorinated hydrocarbon materials such as dichloromethane and dichloroethane. In fact, this is also a defect of chemical products.


Comparison of advantages between PMMA and PC

Different ingredients

Acrylic plate is a special treatment of plexiglass and is a replacement product of plexiglass. PC board is mainly composed of polycarbonate and co-extrusion technology.

Different intensities

The impact resistance of acrylic plate is strong, which is 16 times that of ordinary glass. It is suitable for installation in areas where safety is particularly required. The impact strength of PC plate is 250-300 times that of ordinary glass, 30 times that of acrylic plate with the same thickness, and 2-20 times that of tempered glass. The impact resistance of PC board is 8 to 10 times that of acrylic board.

Different transparency

Acrylic has good transparency, and PC board has high transparency, which is basically difficult to distinguish. Both are clear plastic. Under the same thickness and the same raw material particles, the light transmittance of acrylic sheet is 2-3% higher than that of PC, and both are close to 90%, which is difficult to distinguish with the naked eye.

Different flame retardancy

When burning acrylic, it will produce clear flames and bubbles without smoke. When the flame goes out, the filament can be pulled out. The PC board cannot be burned by fire because it is flame retardant and will emit some black smoke. In general, the acrylic plate is easy to soften when it reaches 70 ℃, while the PC is likely to soften when it faces 120 ℃, so the PC is more resistant to high temperature and the working temperature can be higher.

Different cleaning needs

During the transportation of acrylic plate, the surface protective film or protective paper shall not be scratched. When cleaning the acrylic plate, only 1% soapy water can be used. Immerse the soft cotton cloth in soapy water. Do not use hard objects or dry wipes, or the surface will be easily scratched. However, due to the self-cleaning effect of polycarbonate plate, the dust is not easy to adhere. Besides the engraving industry, this is also the reason why building materials prefer to use it. Just rinse with clean water. It will help to take away dirty things and save you trouble and trouble.


Final Thoughts

If you are having a hard time choosing laser window material, it is a good idea to contact your laser safety officer to discuss it. If you do not have a laser safety officer, you can contact us, or you can give us a call to discuss your laser system and which window is best. The most important thing is always safety. Thanks for reading, and stay safe!

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