A comparison of polycarbonate and glass

By | 10 September 2020

The following information summarises the key advantages of polycarbonate as a glazing material over glass.
Compared to glass, polycarbonate sheeting with its high strength to weight ratio, is very light, but also highly resistant to shattering and damage. This shatter resistance makes this material much safer to use than glass.
The key advantage of using polycarbonate is safety. It is a safe glazing material as it has no risk of breaking, therefore during transport, installation and in situ it is a safe material to use.
A summary of key advantages is highlighted below:

  • Impact resistance: Due to the virtually unbreakable characteristics of polycarbonate there will be no danger of breakage, unlike glass. During transit, installation and in situ the impact resistance of polycarbonate means that there is no risk of it cracking, leaking, or breaking and causing glass fragments or debris to fall onto people below. Use of polycarbonate fitted within our Multi-Link-Panel NF system also makes a significant contribution to compliance with working at height regulations.
  • Weight: 6mm solid polycarbonate sheet weighs 7.2kg/ m2, substantially less than the glass alternative – 7.5mm laminated glass weighs 15kg/m2. Use of polycarbonate glazing can therefore offer a safer long-term solution for the building due to reducing the strain imposed on the existing structural steelwork.
  • Durability/substantiality: Unlike its glass counterpart, polycarbonate will not break, therefore no costly replacement of panels is required in future, contributing to a lower whole life cost of the roof. It will withstand natural forces like severe wind, hail, and snow storms as well as building movements caused by such weather, or by trains moving underneath.
  • Access Panels: Access panels can be easily fitted into our polycarbonate Multi-Link system, unlike glass where not only would this be difficult but removing a panel of glass to gain access would proof challenging and dangerous to those trying to do it.
  • Environment: Polycarbonate is light in weight, therefore beneficial to the environment due to less energy being used it its manufacture, transportation and installation. In addition it can be recycled at the end of its long life span.
  • Temperature resistance: Polycarbonate retains its properties at both high and low temperatures, +100C to -40C. This too helps to eliminate the maintenance costs involved in replacing broken glazing.

We believe the above demonstrates that the high-performance and sustainable benefits of polycarbonate are far superior to glass for overhead glazing applications.

20180405_095655 (Custom) ABERDEEN 4 AS_02-28-WKS-091