Polycarbonate is Widely Used For:

  • Indoor and outdoor signs
  • Architectural glazing—medical facilities,
    retail and government buildings, and transportation centers at risk from breakage and vandalism
  • POP displays and graphic holders
  • Skylights
  • Face shields
  • Machine guards, sight glasses
  • Semiconductor machinery components
  • Transparent manifolds

Performance Characteristics:

  • Outstanding toughness
  • Good optical clarity
    (non-machine grade or un-filled)
  • Strong and stiff
  • Good electrical insulation
  • Easy to fabricate, machine, and thermoform
  • Easy to bond with solvent cements

Common Brands:

  • TUFFAK® (formerly called Makrolon®)
  • Sustanat


Transparent, strong and stiff thermoplastic with outstanding impact resistance

Polycarbonate is a tough, transparent plastic material with outstanding strength, stiffness, and impact resistance. Polycarbonate’s optical clarity makes it ideal for applications such as machine guards, signs, architectural glazing, face shields, skylights, and POP displays.

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SHEET Dimensions:
12 in x 12 in – 72 in x 120 in
0.030 in – 4 in
ROD Outside Diameter:
0.125 in – 8 in
TUBE Outside Diameter:
0.375 in – 6 in
COLOR Sheet:
Clear, Natural, Black, Clear A00, Bronze K09, Gray I30, Black L10, Opaque White

Natural, Black

Abrasion Resistant, Mirror
GRADES Machine, Glass-Filled, Print Grade, General Purpose, Food Grade, FDA Compliant (Non UV Stabilized), Low Flammability, Flame Inhibiting, Sign Grade, Abrasion Resistant (AR 2), Light Diffusing, UV Resistant, Containment Grade, Bullet Resistant, Optical

Length, width, thickness, and diameter tolerances vary by size, by manufacturer, brand, and grade. Custom sizes and colors available upon request. Also available in roll stock.

Polycarbonate Properties and Material Options

TUFFAK® Polycarbonate (formerly called Makrolon®)– Tough and half the weight of plate glass, allows structural applications to require less support. Polycarbonate sheet thermoforms well, is easy to paint, and bonds well using solvent cements or adhesives. Polycarbonate sheet, rod, and tube are easy to machine and have excellent dimensional stability.

General Purpose Polycarbonate– Unfilled grades of polycarbonate exhibit glass-like transparency and extreme toughness. General purpose polycarbonate sheet has a polished surface, is UV stabilized, and is often used in glazing applications. It features outstanding impact strength and superior dimensional stability. TUFFAK® GP polycarbonate has a 5-year warranty against breakage, making it cost effective for thermoformed parts and fabricated components.

Machine Grade Polycarbonate– This low stress polycarbonate is used in many applications that require heavily fabricated, tight tolerance parts such as electrical insulator components, manifolds, diaphragms, and semiconductor parts. Machine grade polycarbonate has high impact strength, high modulus of elasticity, outstanding dimensional stability, and good electrical properties.

Glass-Filled Polycarbonate– This glass-reinforced polycarbonate is used in many industrial applications where metals are commonly used. The addition of glass fibers provide improved strength and stiffness and lower the thermal expansion. Various amounts of glass fibers may be added from 10% - 40%. While glass-reinforced polycarbonate has less impact strength than standard grades, it is still tougher and more impact resistant than most other plastics and die cast aluminum.


TUFFAK® AR Polycarbonate Sheet– Has a transparent hard coat finish, which provides the material with enhanced weatherability, chemical resistance, and abrasion resistance and often used for glazing applications in high traffic areas such as bus shelters.

  • TUFFAK® AR abrasion resistant polycarbonate sheet offers higher abrasion resistance and surface hardness to polycarbonate's inherent performance benefits of impact, strength and clarity.
  • Backed by a limited 7-year warranty against breakage and loss of light transmission, TUFFAK® AR abrasion resistant polycarbonate sheet features a proprietary hard coat technology that offers protection against chemical and UV attack. Over its lifecycle, this results in a significant reduction in maintenance cost and liability risk versus that of other glazing materials.

TUFFAK® Lumen XT Polycarbonate Sheet– A translucent polycarbonate product with a textured surface on one side specifically designed for lighting lenses. It features a unique combination of high light diffusion and high light transmission through a combination of optimized surface texture and advanced diffuser technologies.

  • When compared to other light diffusing products such as glass and acrylic, TUFFAK® Lumen XT sheet has superior impact strength and toughness. Its higher flammability resistance and wider service temperature range provide an additional performance advantage over acrylic diffusers.
  • The wide range of standard diffusion levels as well as both a warm (LW) or a cool (LC) hue offers designers the flexibility to maximize light fixtures' aesthetics and performance.

TUFFAK® SL Polycarbonate Sheet (Sign Grade)– A polycarbonate product with enhanced UV resistance, exceptional weatherability, and superior impact strength designed for signage. TUFFAK® SL Sign Grade polycarbonate sheet, available in sheet and reel, meets UL 879 for electrical signage, and can be easily fabricated, thermoformed, and decorated. Available in clear or colors.

TUFFAK® FD Polycarbonate Sheet (Food Grade)– Complies with FDA requirements for food contact. This non-UV stable sheet offers excellent optical clarity, good heat resistance, and high impact strength. TUFFAK® FD is covered by a 5-year warranty against breakage.

TUFFAK® LF Polycarbonate Sheet (Low Flame)– A low flammability polycarbonate sheet that is flame inhibiting and UV stable. It meets the stringent UL 94 V-0 rating at 0.080" thickness and conforms to FAR 25.853 (a), 1, (i) and (a), 1, (ii).

TUFFAK® FI Polycarbonate Sheet (Flame Inhibiting)– A non UV stable polycarbonate sheet that meets UL 94 V-0 at .060" and UL 94 5V-A at .125" thicknesses and conforms to FAR 25.853 paragraph a & b.

TUFFAK® 15 Polycarbonate Sheet– A polycarbonate glazing solution that offers high impact resistance, long-term weatherability. Backed by a 15-year performance warranty against breakage, yellowing, and loss of light transmission, it is an excellent choice for glazing applications where there is potential for glass breakage. Providing a clear aesthetic advantage over wire glass and metal screens for security glazing, TUFFAK® 15 withstands vandalism, forced entry attempts, and accidental impacts to minimize the risk of theft and glass replacement. It has an abrasion resistant coating that provides up to twice the life of prior polycarbonate sheet products.

TUFFAK® Hygard® BR and CG Polycarbonate Sheet– Laminates are bullet-resistant/containment grade sheet materials consisting of layers of polycarbonate or polycarbonate and acrylic with bonding interlayers. TUFFAK® Hygard® is used for security glazing applications including police stations and detention centers. The material is available in a variety of configurations depending on the level of protection required.

TUFFAK® OP Polycarbonate Sheet (Optical Grade)– Has an optically clear, polished surface that is UV stabilized and used in premium visual applications. TUFFAK® OP is backed by a 5-year warranty against breakage. Applications include aftermarket automotive parts, recreational vehicular glazing, military vehicular glazing and laminated security glazing.


Typical properties of POLYCARBONATE
Tensile strength psi D638 9,500 16,000
Flexural modulus psi D790 345,000 800,000
Izod impact (notched) ft-lbs/in of notch D256 12.0 - 16.0 2.0
Heat deflection
temperature @ 264 psi
°F D648 270 295
Maximum continuous
temperature in air
°F   240 248
Water absorption
(immersion 24 hours)
% D570 0.15 0.16
Coefficient of linear
thermal expansion
in/in/°Fx10-5 D696 3.8 1.5

Values may vary according to brand name. Please ask your Curbell Plastics representative for more specific information about an individual brand.


  • Acrylic vs. Polycarbonate — With these strong, stiff, and clear plastics, the difference often comes down to: How tough is tough enough? 

Need more information about this material? Use our interactive plastic properties table


Impact Resistance Chart - Compare Polycarbonate vs Acrylic and PETG