Transparency, excellent toughness, thermal stability and a very good dimensional stability make Polycarbonate (PC) one of the most widely used engineering thermoplastics. Compact discs, riot shields, vandal proof glazing, baby feeding bottles, electrical components, safety helmets and headlamp lenses are all typical applications for PC.
Polycarbonate is available in a number of different grades dependent on the application and chosen processing method. The material is available in a variety of grades such as film, flame retardant, reinforced and stress crack resistant, branched (for applications requiring high melt strength) and other speciality grades. Also blends of PC are available with e.g. ABS or Polyesters, widely used in automotive industry. Processing of PC generally falls into:
- Injection Moulding
- Structural Foam Moulding
- Vacuum Forming
- Blow Moulding
In recent years Polycarbonate blends have become increasingly commercially important. PC is widely used in blends due to its excellent compatibility with a range of polymers. Typical blends include rubber modified PC, improving impact properties, PC/PBT blends, which allow toughness to be retained at lower temperatures and having improved fuel and weather resistance. Amongst the most significant are those incorporating ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). PC/ABS blends exhibit high melt flow, very high toughness at low temperatures and improved stress crack resistance compared to PC.