Polycarbonate characteristics: width and sheet thickness

For anyone thinking about using polycarbonate for roofing or other applications, it is essential to comprehend its properties, particularly its width and sheet thickness. One multipurpose material that is well-known for its strength, toughness, and transparency is polycarbonate. The width of a polycarbonate sheet is its total dimension when discussing them. Widths typically vary from thin sheets that are appropriate for smaller projects to thicker sheets that are utilized in larger installations.

Another important consideration is the thickness of the polycarbonate sheets. It establishes the material’s durability and strength. There are several millimeters (mm) between the thicknesses of polycarbonate sheets. In situations where strength is crucial, thicker sheets are appropriate because they are more resilient to impact and offer greater durability. Since thinner sheets are more flexible and lighter, they are frequently used in situations where the material must be easily shaped or bent or where weight is an issue.

Selecting the appropriate polycarbonate sheet width and thickness is contingent upon the particular needs of your project. Wider roofing sheets can improve the overall integrity and appearance of the roof by minimizing the number of seams and joints. For outdoor applications, thicker sheets are necessary since they offer superior weather resistance and insulation.

Here at "All about the Roof," we recognize how crucial it is to choose the appropriate materials for your roofing requirements. The properties of polycarbonate, such as sheet thickness and width, are important factors in determining its suitability for different applications. When selecting polycarbonate for your upcoming project, knowing these characteristics will help you make an informed choice, regardless of whether you’re looking for strength, flexibility, or clarity.

The structure of sheet material

There are two varieties of polycarbonate: sheets with a cellular structure and monolithic material are produced by manufacturers. Panels can be painted or colorless and have light transmission in both situations.

Cellular polycarbonate

The cellular material is less expensive than monolithic; it is made up of two or more thin layers joined by jumpers that are angled and perpendicular to each other.

The structure in this section is named for the honeycomb-like structure that inspired its design. Stiffener ribs create air chambers in cellular polycarbonate, which gives it better noise reduction and heat-resistant qualities.

There are several varieties of polycarbonate produced. The number of layers, the placement of the jumpers, and the sheet’s capacity to support the weight all affect how stiff the material is.

Manufacturers provide the subsequent choices:

  • 2H – the panel consists of two layers of material with perpendicular jumpers that form the cells rectangular in the cross section (this is the most common cell carbonate from which you can build a greenhouse or greenhouse).
  • 3x – the panel consists of three layers, in addition to perpendicular jumpers, there are diagonal stiffeners.
  • 3n – a three -layer panel with vertical stiffeners that form rectangular cells. The thickness of the sheet can be 6, 8 or 10 mm.
  • 5 N – this type of material has a five -layer structure with rectangular honeycombs, the thickness of sheets is usually from 16 to 20 mm.
  • 5x – five -layer panel is equipped with perpendicular and diagonal partitions, which provides increased rigidity, standard sheet thickness – 25 mm.

Monolithic polycarbonate

Although monolithic polycarbonate resembles organic glass, it is stronger and more resilient to outside forces; it is also more difficult to break or scratch.

This material is presented in the section as a continuous array. Producers offer a broad range of color options and create translucent and transparent sheets with a smooth or textured surface.

There are two kinds of monolithic polycarbonate sheets:

  1. straight panels;
  2. Profiled panels (wavy form for use as roofing material, including in combination with metal tiles and other similar types of roofing).

The dimensions of the panel

The type and properties of polycarbonate determine the sheet’s standard dimensions. When calculating structures, the dimensions of the sheet material and its physical properties (degree of flexibility) influence the method of transportation that is selected.

The dimensions of the cell material

Sheets made of cellular polycarbonate range in thickness from 3 to 35 mm. Except for an enhanced multi-layer sheet with a thickness of at least 25 mm, cellular polycarbonate sheets have a width of 2100 mm. 1200 mm may be its width (depending on the manufacturer).

Cellular panels with lengths of 12 and 6 meters are produced by manufacturers; deviations of up to 1.5 mm are allowed for transparent materials and up to 3 mm for colored materials.

The structure (number of layers and jumpers) and element thickness determine the weight of a square meter of cellular sheet. The standard dimensions, specific gravity, standard material density, and corresponding panel weight of cellular polycarbonate are displayed in the table.

One thing to consider when selecting cellular leaf polycarbonate is the sheet’s weight. Reduced partition thickness material is available from manufacturers. Because it requires fewer raw materials to produce, cellular polycarbonate is produced at a lower cost and, as a result, at a lower price.

Sentencer-type cellular panels are not appropriate for setting up greenhouses, awnings, or roofs in regions with harsh winters. They can be installed on structures that don’t see an increase in weight or utilized in the southern regions.

Light marking on this type of polycarbonate alerts consumers to its low stress resistance.

Occasionally, dishonest producers and vendors will substitute less robust, lighter materials for the standard. As a result, it is imperative that you examine the product certificates before making a purchase and assess the quality by clicking on the sheet’s surface—a step that you shouldn’t forget.

Dimensions of monolithic material

Panels made of monolithic sheet polycarbonate measure roughly two by three meters. The material in question exhibits a greater light outlet in contrast to cellular sheets. Monolithic panels are typically made of a single layer, although decorative materials may have multiple interconnected layers.

The standard sheet size for whole polycarbonate is:

  • width – 205 cm;
  • length – 305 cm;
  • thickness – from 0.2 cm to 3.2 cm (panels with a thickness of 0.8 cm are made to order).

This material has an amazing appearance and can be used to create advertising structures, decorative elements that can be placed in a room or on the street, as well as visors, awnings, roofs, and fences.

The radius of the bend

One of polycarbonate’s key characteristics is its flexibility, which makes it ideal for building structures with curved surfaces. The type, thickness, and stiffness of the sheet all affect the allowable bending radius.

In the case of monolithic panels, the subsequent parameters are established:

The thickness of the monolithic sheet, mm Permissible bending radius, m
2 0.3
3 0.45
4 0.6
5 0.75
6 0.9
8 1.2
10 1.5
12 1.8

Table 1 shows the allowable bending radius of monolithic polycarbonate based on material thickness.

The cellular material’s flexibility coefficient is influenced by the polycarbonate’s thickness. You can ascertain the extent to which the cell sheet may be bent for transportation or during the installation of structures by concentrating on the table data.

The thickness of the cellular sheet, mm Permissible bending radius, m
4 0.7
6 1.05
8 1.5
10 1.75
16 2.5
20 3.5
25 3.9
32 5.5

Table 2: Permissible cellular polycarbonate bending radius based on material thickness

Cellular polycarbonate sheets up to 10 mm thick are permitted to roll for ease of transportation as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • with the thickness of the panel from 4 to 6 mm, the internal diameter of the roll should be at least 1600 mm;
  • a sheet 8 mm thick is twisted into a roll with a diameter of 1800 mm;
  • If the thickness of the sheet is 10 mm, the inner diameter of the roll should be from 2 thousand. mm and more.

Three people are needed to roll cellular polycarbonate for transportation. Two, depending on how thick the material is, take the panel’s edges and gently roll them to determine the roll’s internal diameter. Using rope or tape, the third person assists in securing the sheet into a roll.

When polycarbonate is thicker than 10 mm, it cannot be transported in rolls; instead, it must be transported in straight sheets on an appropriate freight vehicle.

Polycarbonate for greenhouses

Cellular polycarbonate is actively used by greenhouses and private individuals to build greenhouses. Because of the cellular structure’s air cavities, which act as heat insulators, the material not only allows sunlight to reach the plants but also shields them from the cold.

Once you know how big the polycarbonate sheet will be for the greenhouse, you can figure out the frame by selecting the right kind of building, which is typically an arched one with vertical walls, a gable light transformer roof, and arches.

You can construct an arched greenhouse using polycarbonate sheets that are standard greenhouse size, which measure six meters. The length of the greenhouse is determined by the owner’s needs and the site’s dimensions, while the step of the arcuate supporting elements must match the sheet’s width (2100 mm).

The ideal polycarbonate thickness for this design is 8 mm. The material is sufficiently flexible and easy to install, and it can withstand wintertime snow loads.

If the greenhouse has walls and a gable roof, then every plane is installed independently. Since the load on the roof of a greenhouse is much higher, polycarbonate with a thickness of at least 8 mm is laid on it. The enclosing structures are made of cheap material with a thickness of 4-6 mm in order to save money.

According to "All about the roof," knowing the width and thickness of polycarbonate sheets in particular is essential for making wise roofing selections. Polycarbonate sheets’ structural integrity and weather resistance are influenced by their width, whereas their durability and insulating qualities are determined by their thickness. Understanding these elements will help builders and homeowners choose the best polycarbonate materials for roofing projects that combine durability, strength, and energy efficiency."


Characteristics Polycarbonate
Width Varies based on application; typically ranges from 900mm to 2100mm
Sheet Thickness Commonly available in 4mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, and 16mm thicknesses

Because polycarbonate sheets are available in a range of widths and thicknesses, they can be tailored to meet a variety of roofing and construction requirements. Polycarbonate sheets are usually available in widths between 4 and 48 millimeters, so they can be used for both commercial and residential applications. Because they are lighter and more flexible, thinner sheets are better suited for situations where weight is an issue or where some bending is necessary. Conversely, thicker sheets are stronger and more durable, which makes them perfect for harsher environments or situations where impact resistance is essential.

The thickness of the sheet is yet another important consideration. Sheets of polycarbonate are offered in thicknesses between 0.5 and 2.0 millimeters. Applications needing flexibility and light transmission, like greenhouse covers or curved roofing structures, frequently use thinner sheets. They are simpler to handle and install, particularly in situations where precise measurements require shaping and cutting. Better insulation and structural support are provided by thicker sheets, which makes them appropriate for roofing applications in abrasive climates or where impact resistance and snow load are major concerns.

The precise needs of the application must be taken into account when selecting the width and thickness of polycarbonate sheets for your project. Your choice will be influenced by various factors, including load-bearing capacity, insulation requirements, and aesthetic preferences. Thinner sheets are more affordable and adaptable, allowing for greater design freedom and simplicity of installation. Greater strength and durability are provided by thicker sheets, assuring longevity and performance under demanding circumstances. You can maximize your polycarbonate roofing solution’s performance and longevity by choosing the right width and thickness.

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Gleb Zuev

Exterior designer, author of books about roofing materials. I will help you make your roof not only reliable, but also beautiful.

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