Acrylic vs Polycarbonate Lighting Fixture Lens

When choosing a protective lighting lens fixture, it is important to compare the material benefits of both acrylic and polycarbonate materials before finalizing any decisions. Acrylic and polycarbonate materials are often considered top material choices for a wide range of applications where the size, weight, and strength of the material requires deliberation. When comparing acrylic and polycarbonate luminaire lenses, it is important to address the overall desired benefits of the user.

Acrylic light diffusers control the brightness of harsh lighting to create a soft lighting effect. They can also protect lighting fixtures from dust and help conserve energy by providing more even lighting that reduces the need for additional fixtures. Comparatively, polycarbonate extrusions exhibit higher impact resistance, stiffness, moisture resistance, and increased heat resistance.

Contact us for more information on acrylic and polycarbonate ceiling lighting fixture lens and tips for purchasing plastic sheeting for fluorescent lighting fixtures, or request a quote today.

Distinct Advantages of Acrylic vs Polycarbonate Plastic Lighting Fixture Lenses 

The use of acrylic or polycarbonate material for your lighting extrusion applications will depend on the features that you would like to incorporate into the application’s overall functionality. Both acrylic and polycarbonate materials provide extremely good strength-to-weight ratios while offering tremendous flexibility and excellent light transmission and diffusion. Some of the advantages of both materials are highlighted below.

Acrylic Light Fixture Lens Material Advantages

Acrylic lighting diffusers offer distinct benefits that separate this material from polycarbonate. Acrylic has a high gloss finish and is more translucent than transparent, making it ideal for light diffusers. Other benefits include:

  • Increased durability against scratches
  • Improved flexibility
  • UV resistance (no yellowing or discoloration from the sun)
  • Less expensive than polycarbonate 

Polycarbonate Light Fixture Lens Material Advantages

When comparing polycarbonate to acrylic material, polycarbonate is much more resilient than acrylic, making it ideal for highly demanding applications where impact is a requirement or flame retardance. Some of the benefits of polycarbonate plastic diffusers for fluorescent lighting fixtures, include:

  • Increased strength over acrylic
  • Improved versatility
  • High impact resistance
  • Increased stiffness & moisture resistance
  • Non-flammable, (FR grades are available) can be exposed to high temperatures
  • Can be drilled without cracking

Making the Correct Choice: Acrylic vs Polycarbonate Luminaire Lenses

When compared to standard glass, both acrylic and polycarbonate materials provide many benefits that standard glass does not afford. These advantages include increased light filtration, impact resistance, increased strength, and improved weight and viscosity flow characteristics. However, there are several distinct differences that separate acrylic from polycarbonate lenses. These differences do not inherently make one material better than the other; each of the materials physical properties allows for better performance standards under specified parameters. When comparing PC and PMMA plastic light lens covers the applications for each material should be considered.

Acrylic Light Fixture Extrusions

At Crescent Plastics we can provide extruded frosted acrylic lenses for any lighting application. We manufacture acrylic lenses in several blends to provide the ideal amount of diffusion.  New unfrosted and frosted LED light diffuser acrylic lenses provide diffusion levels from 50% to 94% light transmission for resolving pixilation issues. 

Polycarbonate Light Fixture Extrusions

Our polycarbonate lighting lenses are available in both frosted and diffused options, all of which are specifically designed for LED light fixtures. We fabricate clear polycarbonate extrusions in flame retardant (FR) grades which meets UL 94V-0 specifications at 1mm (0.040”) thickness and UL 5VA at 3 mm. These polycarbonate materials are available in several different diffusion levels, ranging from clear at 91.5% light transmission to diffused with 63.7% light transmission at 1 mm thickness.

Contact Crescent Plastics Regarding Plastic Sheeting for Fluorescent Lighting Fixtures Today

Contact us for more information regarding the pros and cons of acrylic versus polycarbonate plastic lighting fixture lenses. At Crescent Plastics we stock both acrylic and polycarbonate plastic lighting fixtures in custom sizes and shapes to fit your project requirement needs.

Crescent Plastics is one of the top profile extruders in the country for a wide variety of industries.

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