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The 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 it was also discovered 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. 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 learn more about polycarbonate, It has become particularly useful in applications that call for transparent applications.
Glazing applications such as in the aircraft industry, the automotive industry, the eyeglass industry and the cell phone industry.
As well in transparent packaging for the DVD and blue ray disc industry and a variety of other installations.
The flexibility and variations on how polycarbonate can be transformed into various uses, made this product acutely in demand, in many industries.
Polycarbonate Panels for greenhouses
The most common use is widely seen in the construction industry. Due to 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. Events such as weather and UV degradation due to intense sunlight, breakage due to direct impact and physical weight had many shortcomings.
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As the industry developed. Polycarbonate was co-extruded into panels of various dimensions such as in width, length and thickness.
Multi wall 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 make these panels ideal glazing applications.
Applications and Properties
Most noteworthy in dome and skylight glazing, flat and curved glazing applications, translucent roofs, walls and especifically for greenhouse roof applications.
Polycarbonate now abundantly common and widely used globally for outdoor applications.
Translucent applications require UV inhibitors. A specific surface treatment which makes for a long lasting roof glazing applications and provides long life durability.
UV exposure and constant exposed weathering make polycarbonate the ideal product for greenhouse roofs and sidewalls.
Polycarbonate Lexan has evolved and has 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 poly-carbonate panels as the glazing material of choice.
In short, polycarbonate is still evolving and as a result, will probably continue to be in high demand. Bayer and General Electric remain at the forefront of its development and as product designs improve and technology continues to develop, glazing applications will only get better
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