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Introduction

Polycarbonates (PC)

are thermoplastic polymers

containing carbonate

groups in

their

chemical structures. Polycarbonates used in engineering are strong, tough materials, and some
grades are optically transparent. Polycarbonates are the second largest by volume engineering
thermoplastics next to polyamides.
Polycarbonate is a durable material. Although it has high impact-resistance, it has low scratchresistance. Therefore, a hard coating is applied to polycarbonate eyewear lenses and
polycarbonate exterior automotive components. Polycarbonate is highly transparent to visible
light, with better light transmission than many kinds of glass.
The use of polycarbonate in automotive applications is limited to low stress applications. Stress
from fasteners, plastic welding and moulding render polycarbonate susceptible to stress
corrosion cracking when it comes in contact with certain accelerants such as salt water
and plastisol. It can be laminated to make bullet-proof "glass", although "bullet-resistant" is
more accurate for the thinner windows, such as are used in bullet-resistant windows in
automobiles. The thicker barriers of transparent plastic used in teller's windows and barriers in
banks are also polycarbonate.
Polycarbonate (PC) produced from bisphenol A is one of the fastest growing engineering
polymers, the annual volume of PC exceeds 3 million tonnes worldwide. Most of its
applications require a high degree of flame retardancy.

When the dimensions of the reinforcement fibers or particles approach the nanometer scale, a
number of effects cause the properties of the corresponding composites to be different from
those of composites reinforced with macro-scale particles. The main factors affecting the
properties of nanocomposites include nano-filler dispersion, dimensions, volume fraction, the
nature of the matrix material, the interfacial characteristics between nano-filler and matrix, and
the manufacturing process [1].

Polycarbonate is an amorphous polymer with a unique combination of attractive engineering


properties. These include exceptionally high-impact strength even at low temperatures, low
moisture absorption, good heat resistance, good rigidity and electrical properties, and high light
transmission. It possesses good dimensional stability (high creep resistance) over a broad
temperature range. The transparency of polycarbonate has led to its use as an impact-resistant
substitute for window glass. Polycarbonate, however, has a limited scratch and chemical
resistance. It also has a tendency to yellow under long-term exposure to UV light.
Copolymerization and/or incorporation of additives are used to modify the base resin for
greater creep resistance, UV light performance, flame retardance, and thermal stability. For
example, fire-retardant grades of polycarbonates are made by copolymerizing bisphenol A with
tetrabromobisphenol A comonomer, while addition of glass fiber reinforcements greatly
extends the level and range of creep resistance of polycarbonates. Polycarbonates are processed
by all the conventional techniques for processing thermoplastics. The balanced combination of
properties permits polycarbonates to be used in a variety of applications. Markets for
polycarbonates include automotive, construction, electronics, appliances, and lighting, while
typical applications are automobile taillight lenses, lamp housings, bumpers, door and window
components, drapery fixtures, furniture and plumbing, business machine housings, machinery
housings, telephone parts, glazing signs, and returnable bottles. [2]

References:
1. Zhang J, Wang X, Lu L, Li D, Yang X. Preparation and performance of highimpact
polystyrene (HIPS)/Nano-TiO2 nanocomposites. J Appl Polym Sci 2003;87(3):3815.
2. Robert Q. Ebewele, Polymer Science and Technology, CRC Press, New York, 2002,
pp. 445.