What is polycarbonate: features, technical specifications and specifics of choosing the right material

Polycarbonate is a strong, adaptable material that is becoming more and more common in construction, particularly for roofing. It’s a kind of thermoplastic polymer that’s renowned for being extremely transparent and strong. Due to its special qualities, polycarbonate, which was first created in the 1950s, has since found wide application in a variety of fields. Unlike glass, it is extremely impact-resistant despite being lightweight, which makes it appropriate for locations where hail and falling debris are common.

The remarkable optical clarity of polycarbonate is one of its most notable qualities. When natural light is desired but protection from the elements is still required, this material is perfect for roofing because it permits light transmission while blocking harmful UV rays. By lowering the need for artificial lighting during the day, this clarity also helps to save energy.

The technical specifications of polycarbonate are very important when thinking about using it for roofing. It is available in a range of thicknesses, from thin sheets to multi-walled constructions, and each offers a different level of structural integrity and insulation. Better insulation qualities found in thicker panels over time can help control interior temperature and lower heating and cooling expenses.

Selecting the appropriate polycarbonate material requires consideration of a number of factors. In addition to thickness, factors to be taken into account are the particular climate in the area where the roofing will be installed, including exposure to sunlight and temperature extremes. For longevity and safety, it’s also critical to comprehend the material’s fire resistance ratings as well as its resistance to weathering and chemical exposure.

Features Polycarbonate is known for its high impact resistance, making it virtually unbreakable.
Technical Specifications It is lightweight, transparent, and offers excellent thermal insulation properties.
Choosing the Right Material Consider factors like UV resistance, thickness options, and specific application needs.

Varieties of construction polycarbonate

The need and acceptance of polycarbonate in the building industry is supported by several essential properties that are unique to polymeric materials. Its exceptional ease of use is paired with a strong enough structure and resistance to various outside factors.

Heavy and brittle silicate glass is actively replaced by polymer sheet material. It is considerably more willing and active when it comes to glazing building structures.

Arrange terraces and greenhouses, construct awnings and visors over entrance groups, and construct arbor roofs using polycarbonate. functions as wall cladding, a roof, and a light-conducting component of panoramic windows.

Unlike glass, polycarbonate does not break or distort even under very high loads. Large spans can be overlapped with it, and there is no danger associated with damaging expansive panoramic glazing.

When it comes to transportation, delivery to the workplace, and installation work, synthetic materials don’t require the utmost caution. Simple to handle and does not complicate cutting. When working with him, almost no waste or spoiled pieces are suitable for further use.

Based on the structural markers of leaf polycarbonate, they can be classified into two subspecies:

  • Monolithic. Material with a monolithic structure and equal characteristics throughout the thickness. On the cut, the sheet looks like the usual glass, but it differs 200 times more strength. Bends, though to the limits given by the manufacturer.
  • Cellular. Material with characteristic "honeycombs", if you look at its cut. In fact, these are two thin sheets between which distance longitudinal partitions are located. They form a cellular structure, and also serve as stiffeners.

It is possible to create rounded surfaces with either variety, which is not achievable with glass. But those who want to make a fascinating idea a reality should consider the bending radius, which is a requirement specified in the technical documentation by the material’s manufacturer.

The two chemical components that are produced by polycondensation are carbonic acid and chlororageidritis of definilopropan. This leads to the formation of a viscous plastic mass, which is then used to form monolithic or cellular polycarbonate.

We will discuss the features of application and the specifics of their production so that you can have a complete understanding of both varieties.

Monolithic polycarbonate sheets

Granules are the form of source material used in the manufacturing of a monolithic thermoplastic polymer. Extrusion technology is used in the manufacturing process. Granules are loaded into the extruder, where they are combined and melted.

An extruder film, a flat device, is fed the uniform mass that has softened, and the result is a polymer plate that is the same thickness throughout. The polycarbonate slab’s thickness ranges from 1.5 mm to 15.0 mm. The necessary dimensions are provided at the same time as the plate thickness.

Although a wide variety of monolithic polymer plates are produced, they vary in:

  • By light -conductive qualities. Are transparent, passing up to 90% of the light flow, and matte, practically non -light.
  • By relief. Are flat and wavy. Polymer transparent and not conducting the light of slate is one of the varieties of monolithic polycarbonate.
  • By color. In the abundance of trading positions offered by customers there are materials of a variety.

One benefit of monolithic polycarbonate is that it absorbs no moisture. He does not in any way absorb household evaporation or atmospheric water, so he cannot make assumptions or establish the conditions necessary for the relocation of fungal colonies.

The monolithic option functions well in a broad range of temperatures and is not afraid of either. Like all polymers, it is subject to linear expansion in hot weather; this is something that must be considered during the design and installation process.

Cellular polycarbonate panels

The form of the filter is the only way that the production of cellular polymer material varies from that of its monolithic counterpart. A multi-layer material with long longitudinal channels of a small section is formed when pushing through it.

The air is found in the channels that the film has created, which greatly increases the polymer product’s insulating capabilities while also significantly reducing its weight.

Locations within a cell assortment vary:

  • The total thickness of the panel. At the disposal of architects and designers now there is a cell material with a thickness of 4.0 mm to 30.0 mm. Naturally, the thicker the sheet, it is worse than it bends and is less suitable for the formation of rounded planes.
  • By color and light conductive qualities. Due to the features of the structure, cellular polycarbonate cannot conduct more than 82 % of light rays. Colorful gamut is not inferior to a monolithic nomenclature.
  • By the number of layers and form of honeycomb. Layers in the cell panel can be from 1 to 7mi. Stiffness ribs, which are simultaneously with the remote elements and walls of air channels, can be located strictly perpendicular to the upper and lower surface of the sheet or to be at an angle.

Rib-created channels can be attributed to the material’s benefits as well as drawbacks. Even though polycarbonate is highly incapable of absorbing water, they can "suck" moisture from surrounding plants and soils, avoiding household evaporation with ease.

When performing installation work, the channels should be closed with flexible profiles, or linear installation details, to prevent water from entering, which incidentally significantly reduces the priority insulating qualities of cellular polycarbonate. They serve as a structure’s edge protection as well as a means of joining neighboring sheets.

Optimization of quality characteristics

Although polycarbonate panels are a great material for construction, they are not perfect. He clears both UVA and UVB groups. We link the capacity to sustain burning, the inclination to disperse sunlight unevenly, and the sensitivity to its effects.

Think about the strategies used by producers of polymer sheets to combat undesirable qualities. Thus, we will know what factors to consider when selecting a polycarbonate for use in residential building.

Protection against ultraviolet radiation

The capacity of polycarbonate plates, which is used to create greenhouses, to withstand ultraviolet radiation—which is harmful to plants, for example—is not insignificant. It is not at all practical for swimming in a pool with a polymer pavilion or for vacationers under a canopy.

Furthermore, the polycarbonate sheet itself is negatively impacted by UV light, becoming cloudy, yellow, and eventually destroyed. It is provided with a layer that acts as a dependable barrier against harmful rays in order to safeguard the material and the exterior side that is equipped with its assistance.

In the past, varnish served as the protective layer; however, this material was prone to cracking and quickly wearing off. It is now present on fake goods since the producers of these goods lack the tools and training necessary to provide adequate UV protection.

Superior polycarbonate appears to be melted into its outer layer rather than having a protective shell covering it. Coecroseia is the term for this application’s technique. When two substances are combined at the molecular level, an ultraviolet radiation-resistant shield is produced.

The thin layer formed by paying a layer only a few tens of microns thick. The polycarbonate is actually the same; it has just been enhanced with a UV stabilizer. Insofar as a polycarbonate panel is in use, the layer maintains its integrity and serves the owners faithfully without breaking or crumbling.

It should be noted that the availability of a stabilizer is verified solely by technical documentation provided by the manufacturer, who places a high value on its own reputation. An optical supplement is also added during the process of replacing it so that the content of this substance in polycarbonate can be identified.

You will never see the stabilizer itself, but you can examine the optical supplement under a regular UV lamp. Consequently, it is preferable to purchase materials from reputable retailers and polycarbonate from reliable vendors. It will only be nearly impossible to "run" to counterfeit in this situation.

Additionally, keep in mind that the UV stabilizer is not applied across the entire thickness of the sheet. It is just irrational to have this concentration, and the product’s price would have gone up hundreds of times. Consequently, it is entirely reasonable to view the material’s seller’s or manufacturer’s claims that the stabilizing substance is introduced to all power as a lie and an attempt to market a fake.

The term "upper" on the material designates the side from which the stabilizer is felled. Installing polycarbonate sheets is only required in order for them to form the outer surface and come into contact with the sun’s rays. Protection against UV radiation is only 100% necessary in this situation to carry out its assigned tasks.

Lighting for scattering light

In a greenhouse, the capacity to disperse light is a highly valuable attribute. Thus, if polycarbonate sheets are purchased in order to construct a greenhouse, consideration should be given to it.

Because sunlight is redirected during surveying, a more thorough coverage of the illuminated area is provided, and all plants within a closed object are guaranteed a consistent supply of light. The light flow is further improved by the scattered rays inside the greenhouse being reflected off of different surfaces.

Compared to mobile panels, monolithic sheets have a far higher capacity to distribute sunlight evenly. Furthermore, since greenhouse arrangements primarily use a cell option, it is necessary to inquire about the percentage of light scraping from the seller or locate information regarding it in the product passport.

It’s important to keep in mind that:

  • In cellular transparent material, this property usually does not exceed 70-82%.
  • In opaque color modifications, varies from 25 to 42%.

Light-dispersing and refracting polycarbonate starts when LD, or microscopic particles, are added to the composition to create the desired effect.

The ability to skip light in monolithic sheets increases to 90% when this additive is added during the production of transparent panels (data for material with a thickness of 1.5 mm). It is added during the production of white polycarbonate, which has a 50–70% range in light-conductive ability.

The introduction of an inhibitor against combustion

Without the use of particular additives, polycarbonate, like all polymer compounds, will continue to burn. Once inhibitors are produced, this quality is greatly diminished. Cellular panels and monolithic sheets both have a long fire resistance lifespan and don’t release any toxic fumes when they burn.

According to the fire parameters, standard monolithic polycarbonate corresponds to G2 groups, cellular to G1. t.e. Mobile panels are weak and injured, while monolithic sheets are somewhat flammable.

Monolithic sheets that meet group G1 requirements can also be produced upon customer request. In this instance, a certificate for a product with the matching features must be given to the buyer. There can be variances in ignorance when it comes to the capacity to spread poison and fire.

Exception of the phenomenon of inner rain

Cellular polycarbonate is widely used in the building of terraces, covered pavilions for pools, verandas, and greenhouses. Air movement is either completely eliminated or greatly reduced when polymer panels are used. One particular fastener that is used in construction to guarantee tightness exacerbates the situation.

It is impossible to totally eliminate condensation loss in polycarbonate constructions even with ventilation components present. Light custody is decreased by natural evaporation and condensation that collect on the interior surface.

In hermetic greenhouses, condensation and vaporous water have a negative impact on plants and can cause them to rot. A destructive fungus settles on the wooden details of structures, causing negative effects. There’s an unhealthful atmosphere in covered pools.

How can fogging be completely removed? Indeed, by using a fogging coating known as antiphog (against fog) in technical parlance. There is no delay caused by a change in surface tension of the drops once it is applied to the inner surface of polycarbonate evaporation structures and condensesate.

The conditions for the uniform distribution of water along the polymer surface are established by the multicomponent composition. It interacts with water, not adjacent molecules that are similar. Ultimately, condensation and evaporation evaporate rapidly rather than growing into large drops that could endanger people and plants when they fall out.

Accounting for thermal expansion

It must be considered that sheets and panels may enlarge due to heat exposure in order to prevent deformation of the polycarbonate structure.

The normal operating temperature range for polycarbonate building materials is -40º C to +130º C. It goes without saying that the polymer will change linearly with plus values.

Thermal expansion must be taken into consideration during the project development phase, and the designer needs to know the linear amount of thermal expansion.

For polymer panels, the typical thermal extension values are:

  • 2.5 mm for each linear meter for a transparent, dairy material for and products close to the milk color of light tones;
  • 4.5 mm for the material of dark color: blue, gray, bronze samples.

Installers, in addition to designers, should consider the capacity for heat expansion; fasteners made of titanium should be installed specifically for this purpose. To allow sheets and panels to move, compensators and metizes with large hats are used, and screw holes are drilled larger than the diameter of the sheet or panel.

The spacing between monolithic polymer sheets and cellular panels is intentionally left open. Then, as the polymer elements expand, a reserve will form, preventing them from "pushing" against one another and from resting on the edges. This opening creates a flexible profile in the designs.

The manufacturer guarantees that structures will last longer and be free of problems if thermal expansion is taken into account during design and assembly. Because of tension and overstress, the parts assembled with polycarbonate sheets and panels won’t break or crash.

An independent pet should also keep in mind the propensity of polymer sheets and panels to expand under direct and indirect thermal influence, that is, when the surrounding space increases in degree.

Selecting the appropriate roofing material is essential for any builder or homeowner. Because of its distinct qualities and range of uses, polycarbonate is a particularly flexible material. Polycarbonate roofing, which is well-known for its strength and resilience to impact, provides superior defense against meteorological elements like hail and ultraviolet light. Because of this, it is a better option in regions that frequently experience severe weather.

One of polycarbonate’s main advantages over more conventional roofing materials like glass is its low weight, which makes handling and installation easier. It is appropriate for a variety of architectural designs because, despite its light weight, it retains strong structural integrity. Polycarbonate sheets can also be customized by homeowners to match their preferred aesthetics because they come in a variety of colors and transparency levels.

Technical details emphasize polycarbonate’s advantages even more. Because of their high light transmission rates, these sheets often maximize the amount of natural daylight that enters buildings. This improves energy efficiency and lessens the need for artificial lighting during the day. Additionally, polycarbonate has the ability to insulate against heat, which helps to control interior temperatures and enhance comfort all year round.

Selecting the appropriate type of polycarbonate for roofing requires careful consideration of individual requirements. It is important to carefully consider factors like load-bearing capacity, thickness, and UV protection. For example, thicker sheets last longer and offer superior insulation, and UV-coated options offer superior protection from sun damage, extending the roofing material’s lifespan.

In conclusion, polycarbonate roofing is a sensible option for both residential and commercial buildings since it blends strength, adaptability, and aesthetic appeal. Its energy-efficient qualities combined with resistance to inclement weather make it a viable choice for contemporary building projects. Homeowners and builders can confidently choose polycarbonate roofing that satisfies their functional and aesthetic requirements by being aware of its features and technical specifications.

Because of its strength and low weight, polycarbonate is a versatile roofing material that is widely used in both residential and commercial construction. Because of its special qualities, which include outstanding light transmission and high impact resistance, it is perfect for a variety of uses, including skylights and greenhouse roofs. Important factors influencing polycarbonate’s performance and longevity are its thickness, UV protection, and insulation qualities. Knowing these characteristics makes it easier to choose the ideal polycarbonate material for a given project, whether it’s for energy efficiency, weather resistance, or aesthetic appeal.

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Denis Shcherbakov

Professional roofer with 20 years of experience. I know everything about the installation, repair and maintenance of various types of roofs. I will be happy to share my knowledge and experience with you.

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