Once a useful basic material, polycarbonate is now a modern construction material, used in greenhouses and roofs. In addition to its aesthetic properties, polycarbonate has many other attributes that help explain its growing appeal to architects.
Here are 5 benefits of using polycarbonate in building and construction:
1 It bends easily.
Polycarbonate is a thermoplastic, which means it has some very useful properties. It can be easily formed into various shapes and structures, and can be cold-formed into curved surfaces on site. Because it is a thermoplastic, polycarbonate can be heated, cooled and reheated without any degradation. This means it is 100% recyclable.
2. It can resist impact and break
Solid polycarbonate panels have a higher impact force compared to glass. This is very useful during the shipping, handling and installation phases of any project. Once a building is in place, polycarbonate is much more resistant to hail, falling branches and other objects than glass, acrylic or FRP. Also, unlike GRP, polycarbonate does not become more brittle with age.
The impact and break resistance of polycarbonate reduces potentially expensive repair and maintenance costs.
3. It weighs less than half of glass
Polycarbonate has a density of 2,645 lb/m3 compared to glass’ 6,173 lb/m3, giving it an advantage in terms of structural design. A reduction in the self-weight load of cladding or roof elements can lead to a reduction in the size of structural members and foundations, resulting in cost savings.
Equally important is the effect of manual handling of low-weight materials. When polycarbonate is used in building and construction, it is easier to transport, lift and move, and potentially safer because it is less likely to break.
4. It is a good insulator
Polycarbonate insulation explains why it is becoming an increasingly popular choice for cladding and roofing. Multiple walls of polycarbonate panels create additional pockets of air around the building, improving its thermal performance.
Single-layer glazing has a U-value of 6W/m2K, while polycarbonate roofing materials have U-values ranging from 3.5 W/m2K for 6mm double-wall panels to 2.1 W/m2K for 16mm five-wall panels.
Polycarbonate is also a great sound-deadening material. That’s why you’ll often see clear or colored flat polycarbonate sheets used as noise barriers on busy roads, construction sites or railway lines, or to form partitions in office fittings or clothing stores.
5 It reflects light
While this may seem like an obvious statement, to some the word “polycarbonate” conjures up images of yellowed plastic and hazing. While this is still a problem with FRP, it is not the case with polycarbonate.
Polycarbonate transmits the same amount of light as glass, much more than FRP; in addition, polycarbonate can be as transparent as glass, while GRP is translucent, not a completely transparent product.
All of our polycarbonate sheets are UV-resistant treated, one side for multiwall and two sides for solids, to protect it from potential UV radiation and extend its life.
The use of polycarbonate in architecture and construction offers designers the opportunity to optimize natural light in buildings. Its capital and operating costs may be lower than competing materials. This is a truly sustainable option. And we haven’t even talked about the possibilities that come with virtually limitless color options…