What are Plexiglass and Lexan, and are they economical alternatives to glass?
Plexiglass and Lexan are brand names for the plastics commonly known as acrylic and polycarbonate. Acrylic is less expensive and easier to fabricate, but can shatter if impacted with enough force.
While acrylic is 17% stronger than glass, polycarbonate is nearly indestructible and often used for bullet-resistant enclosures. It is one-third the weight of acrylic and one-sixth the weight of glass. Its main drawback is a higher price point.
As compared to glass, both acrylic and polycarbonate are much more susceptible to scratches. Scratches can be buffed with a soft-abrasive polishing compound such as CRL’s Plastic Cleaner & Polisher (available for purchase at Lyndale Glass) to reduce their appearance, but they cannot be entirely removed. Abrasion–resistant polycarbonate is available but is much more expensive than standard polycarbonate.
Both acrylic and polycarbonate are available in clear, tints, and many opaque colors. We stock the most commonly used colors – typically clear, tints, and whites.
Polycarbonate is not an economical alternative to glass, but it has clear advantages where the situation dictates. Acrylic may be an alternative to glass; while material costs are generally higher, installation expenses can be lower.