Polycarbonate Panel Sheets
Polycarbonate discovery became known somewhere around 1954 (I was 4 years old) by Dr. Hermann Schnell; he worked at Bayer in Germany and soon after by Chemist Daniel Fox from General Electric.Ironically they both discovered the same gooey substance within days of each other. Apparently, polycarbonate originated as a resin polymer made from mixing bisphenol A with phosgen and after it harden it transformed into an almost indestructible material. In the early days polycarbonate was termed Lexan, just about everyone today has heard of this term and now that the Greenhouse industry has grown over the years, Lexan sheeting is now referred to as polycarbonate panels, or polycarbonate sheets.
The structure of polycarbonate lends itself to many applications, polycarbonate panels and related products consist of polymers and carbonates. Due to the strength and flexibility of these compounds, its development in essence, has proved to be highly appropriate. For uses in eye wear lenses, bullet resistant glazing and in many micro electrical components.
Over the years, and as researchers learned about polycarbonate, it also became particularly useful in applications that called for transparent purposes. Such as in glazing applications for the aircraft industry, the automotive industry, and the cell phone industry.
Transparent packaging, the DVD and blue ray disc industry and a variety of other installations, as well. The flexibility and variations on how polycarbonate can be transformed into various uses made this product acutely in demand, in many industries.
Polycarbonate Greenhouse Panels
The most common use is widely seen in the construction industry because of its high tensile strength, extreme flexibility and high impact resistance. It was not long after its discovery that polycarbonate panels could replace the use of glass in many applications.
As we can now surmise, greenhouse applications always used glass. Greenhouse glass allowed for direct sunlight transmission which is essential for greenhouse plant growth. However, glass back in the day, had many shortcomings, such as weather and UV degradation due to intense sunlight, breakage due to direct impact and physical weight.
As the industry developed and not too long ago, polycarbonate was co extruded into panels of various dimensions such as in width, length and thickness.
Those who are looking for polycarbonate panels to build a greenhouse, the term multiwall polycarbonate, have since become the norm. Multiwall polycarbonate sheets come in a variety of lengths and thickness’s and all have unique R-value and U-value properties.
The light weight physical properties of polycarbonate made it ideal for construction glazing applications, such as dome and skylight glazing, flat and curved glazing application, translucent roofs and walls and specifically for greenhouse applications.
UV exposure and constant exposed weathering required all polycarbonate panels, used for greenhouses and other translucent applications, to have a specific surface treatment which makes for a long lasting glazing product, these UV inhibitor coatings provide long life making co extruded polycarbonate panels for outdoor applications abundantly common and widely used globally.
Polycarbonate Lexan has evolved and replaced many traditional materials and continues to provide many benefits to everyday applications.
Its strength and durability to this day remains unmatched in all forms of its applications and uses. It is no wonder that the greenhouse industry has embraced polycarbonate panels as the glazing material of choice.
In short, polycarbonate is still evolving and will continue to be high demand as time moves along. Bayer and General Electric remain at the forefront of its development and as product designs improve and technology continues to develop so will polycarbonate.
Reference material links:
GDS The Greenhouse Guy May 24, 2017