Choose your plastic
When it comes to choosing a solid transparent plastic sheet material to work with, the options can be overwhelming. Each plastic type offers different strengths, colours, textures and more. Depending on your requirements, there is a suitable option for every project, but how do you know what that is?
Marlon FS polycarbonate, Marpet-g FS PETg and Marcryl FS extruded acrylic sheet are Brett Martin’s three main solid flat sheet products, each having their own strengths, weaknesses, and properties that make them unique. Here we explore when you would use each of them and when another material could be substituted.
Marlon FS Polycarbonate sheet
Marlon polycarbonate is a high performance sheet material whose most notable attributes are its technical performance. It has immense strength and impact resistance, 200 times stronger than glass and recording a “no break” in the Charpy impact test. Combined with optical clarity, excellent fire performance and wide range of service temperatures, from -20oC to +100oC, Marlon polycarbonate is particularly suitable for more challenging applications.
Polycarbonate is often associated with construction projects but there are many other types of products and applications requiring strength combined with high levels of transparency for which polycarbonate is well suited.
Safety and security applications, such as riot shields, machine guards, protective or security screens and even ice hockey rink surrounds, fall into this category.
Likewise, products, such as light fittings, signs, displays or street furniture, which may be located in areas where they may be easily broken or vandalised, can benefit from polycarbonate’s innate robustness.
Whilst very strong, polycarbonate has a low scratch resistance, but Marlon is available in an abrasion resistant version. For external use, a UV resistant version is also available.
Marlon FS BioPlus is a more sustainable version of Marlon, being made with from a bio-circular resin which reduces fossil fuel usage and carbon emissions.
Overall, Marlon is best suited to products, projects, signage and displays requiring high impact capability and technical performance combined with the high level of transparency.
Marpet-g FS PETg sheet
Marpet-g FS offers creativity and flexibility, making it a versatile choice for products, components, signage and retail displays. However its properties are not as widely known as those of alternatives such as polycarbonate and acrylic. For those looking to achieve stunning, but unique applications, Marpet-g FS has a multitude of benefits.
Although its impact resistance is not as high as that of polycarbonate, at 60 times stronger than glass and also recording a “no break” in the Charpy test, Marpet-g FS also offers great strength and durability. This makes it a particularly good alternative to acrylic which can be fragile. Marpet can eliminate breakages of fabricated items during transportation or while in use.
The area in which PETg is not merely an alternative to polycarbonate and acrylic, but first choice in its own right, is its ability to be formed. PETg’s excellent malleability enables it to easily bend, shape and form unlike any other material. It can be formed into complex shapes, which makes it ideal for use for many plastic products, components and eye-catching displays.
It is faster to process than other transparent plastic sheets, giving customers savings and a lower unit cost. It can be printed without using a primer on all printing equipment. It does not need to be pre-dried before thermoforming and can be thermoformed at lower temperatures. The resultant shorter cycle times save energy, time, and money.
Additionally, its fire certification means it can be used indoors whilst its UV resistance option allows it to be used outdoors. In terms of price, Marpet is highly competitive when compared to other clear sheet products with similar performance.
Marpet-g FS provides a unique combination of properties and a great price offering a real commercial advantage for businesses – lower material costs, lower wastage, lower processing and energy costs and the ability to create endless designs for the most eye-catching applications.
In addition to this, the Marpet-g FS Eco option, which contains over 50% reclaimed material helps to meet customer’s sustainability goals.
If you’re looking to create something unique and interesting yet attractive, Marpet, is your best bet!
Marcryl FS Acrylic sheet
Marcryl FS is a very attractive looking product but, as it is brittle and more prone to breakage than either polycarbonate or PETg, it is chosen if you are aiming to prioritise the final appearance of the product over its robustness.
Marcryl FS flat extruded acrylic sheet looks very similar to glass, although it is only half its weight. It has a high gloss finish, good optical clarity, very high light transmission (92% for 3mm) and excellent natural weatherability.
The gloss and shiny finish give the material a bright feel, achieving visually stunning effects. When the edges are polished, their perfect transparency makes Marcryl FS the ideal choice for use in interior design, POS and display applications.
It is also available in an Eco option, Marcryl FS Eco, will contains over 50% reclaimed material.
It is the plastic of choice of interior designers, product or retail display designers where impressive applications are required, but it lacks the impact resistance to enable it to cope with the rough and tumble of some working environments. When the going gets tough Marpet PETG offers a similar appearance but with the added robustness required to resist damage.
Polycarbonate, PETg or acrylic – all offer their own individual quirks and traits, for a variety of application types and requirements. Which will you pick?
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