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Polycarbonate in Building and Construction

Polycarbonate is a high-performing thermoplastic that is widely used in building and construction products, from windows and skylights to wall panels and roof domes to exterior elements for LED lighting. Polycarbonate has a number of qualities that make it useful in these applications – it is lightweight and durable, with high optical clarity, high-impact and high-heat resistance, as well as excellent flammability resistance.

Below are some of the many building applications that take advantage of the high performance of polycarbonate:
  • Polycarbonate can be used in place of glass in a variety of window and skylight applications. Polycarbonate panels and sheets allow natural light to enter a building, and they can also be tinted, reducing the sunlight that reflects inside a building and helping to minimize interior cooling costs in the summer. Depending on the gauge, a typical window- and roof-glazing application using solar-control IR multi-wall polycarbonate sheet can help to reduce interior heat, resulting in energy savings in a temperature-controlled environment.

  • From opaque cladding panels to canopies, barrel vaults, skylights, translucent walls and signage, roof domes and louvers, polycarbonate sheet products are designed and available in a wide range of thicknesses, structural strengths and configurations that also meet LEED® requirements. Polycarbonate can be formed into a variety of complex shapes using thermoforming, a heat-based thermoplastic shaping technique. Polycarbonate sheet also can be cold-line bent similar to metal. A variety of processes to shape polycarbonate facilitate many building features, from stressed curves for arches to simple paneling.

  • Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting is a top choice for illuminating homes and businesses, offering energy efficiency, durability and long life. As an exterior element for LED lighting, polycarbonate plastic is sturdy, and its crystal-like clarity holds up over many years. Other benefits of polycarbonate plastic in LED lighting include heat resistance, transparency, impact resistance, low flammability, and increased energy efficiency.

  • Polycarbonate is used in security glazing—strengthening prisons, guard booths, bank teller shields, convenience stores, , hockey rink surrounds and more.

  • Polycarbonate is used extensively in sports stadium roofs to protect fans from bad weather – and let the game go on – while allowing in natural light and saving energy at the same time.

Specifically, polycarbonate’s impact strength makes it an excellent choice for security applications, including blast and bullet-resistant glazing. Clear as glass, it also presents an advantage over alternatives such as wire glass and metal screens. When used in a multi-wall format, polycarbonate provides significant insulation, with resulting energy efficiency benefits. When treated with solar control technology, polycarbonate also provides protection from IR radiation and can also increase energy efficiency.

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