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Windshields Direct LLC are everywhere, from motorcycles to specialty glazing for vehicles like bulldozers. These custom pieces can be fabricated from various materials, including acrylic and polycarbonate.
Glass is hard and durable but less flexible or resistant to UV/sunlight than polymers. Glass also scratches more easily than plastic.
Acrylic is a highly versatile material that can be fashioned into various useful products. Its most obvious benefit is its durability. It is ten times more impact-resistant than Glass, and if it breaks, it will fracture into dull-edged pieces rather than sharp, dangerous shards. Because of its strength and safety, acrylic is often used to replace windows in commercial buildings. It is also widely used as a window pane in boats and automobiles. Acrylic plastic is available in a wide range of colors and styles to match any design theme or decor, and it is easy to clean.
The lightweight and durability of acrylic make it the ideal material for windshields. It is much easier to install than Glass and can withstand the stresses of travel without being susceptible to cracks or chipping. It is also 50 percent lighter than a comparable piece of Glass, reducing the vehicle’s strain and improving fuel efficiency.
Acrylic windshields are also more durable than traditional Glass and don’t shatter as easily under rough treatment. They also offer a clear view in a wider range of weather conditions and are less likely to get scratched or clouded with dirt or dust. They can be cleaned with standard household cleaning products, whereas Glass requires special cleaners that may discolor or cover the surface.
Plastics like acrylic and polycarbonate are also perfect for custom vehicle windshields because they can be shaped into very specific shapes. That allows them to better protect the driver and passengers from flying debris or wind, and they can be fabricated into designs that would be difficult or impossible with Glass.
Acrylic and polycarbonate are two of the market’s most frequently utilized see-through plastics. While contractors are similar in many ways, they have a few key differences that can affect the final decision made by a buyer. Acrylic is shinier than polycarbonate, and it is easier to scratch. On the other hand, it is also less expensive and more flexible than polycarbonate.
Although acrylic and polycarbonate both provide benefits for custom windshields, they are not interchangeable. It is important to look at the needs of a particular project or business and determine which of these two materials best aligns with those goals. Then, it is simply a matter of choosing which type of windshield meets those requirements. For example, acrylic is a great option for heavy equipment and motorcycles, while polycarbonate is more suitable for specialty and armored vehicles. It is possible to combine these materials for the ultimate versatility and performance. Still, a buyer should be aware that it is not as simple as swapping one material for another.
Polycarbonate might be your best option when you need an extremely strong plastic windshield. This type of plastic is known for its ability to withstand high pressure and force without cracking or shattering. It’s also safer than glass windshields, as it is less likely to break into sharp shards. Polycarbonate is often used in bulletproof glass and fighter jet windshields, as it is highly resistant to impact damage.
While acrylic and polycarbonate share many benefits, some important differences should be noted. The main difference is that polycarbonate is much stronger than acrylic, making it the better choice for car windshields. It is also more durable against impacts and other environmental elements, making it an ideal outdoor choice.
Polycarbonate is also more pliable than acrylic, meaning it can be formed into different shapes without breaking or becoming degraded. This feature makes it a great choice for manufacturing applications where flexibility is key, such as automotive parts. Additionally, polycarbonate is much more resistant to heat than Glass, which can be a benefit in certain settings. For example, a polycarbonate windshield can withstand hot temperatures for hours or sudden bursts of heat up to 1166 degrees Fahrenheit without warping or cracking.
Another advantage of polycarbonate is that it provides more clarity than Glass, which can be a good or bad thing depending on your needs. Acrylic offers a higher level of light transmission than Glass, but it does not provide the same degree of visibility as polycarbonate. Polycarbonate, conversely, is clearer and allows more light to penetrate it. That is why it’s often preferred for motorcycle windshields, as it can withstand the beatings that a motorcycle takes on the trail or track while providing excellent visibility.
A final benefit of polycarbonate is that it has a lower moisture content than Glass, making it easier to keep clean and free from fogging. That is an important benefit for many applications, especially those requiring constant exposure to the weather. For example, greenhouses and all-season porches benefit greatly from adding a polycarbonate windshield, as it minimizes the effects of direct sunlight on the plants inside.
Both polycarbonate and acrylic are excellent choices for a windshield, and you can find them in various sizes, thicknesses, and finishes. Both are transparent and offer exceptional durability, but polycarbonate is more impact-resistant than acrylic and more flexible than Glass. Both materials can be fabricated into custom windshields to meet your specific requirements, so there’s no reason not to choose them for your next project!