Polycarbonate: Where did it all begin?

At over a century old, polycarbonate might seem a bit old hat to some, but even in today’s modern world, it still has a big role to play. Novolux National Sales Manager Craig Weatherley explains…

With modern technology at our fingertips, consumers are becoming smarter over time. They know about every alternative in the market for just about anything they want to buy, and cleverly do their research before making a purchase.

And one particular product that’s gaining popularity within the construction industry is polycarbonate.

Where once consumers would typically use glass to achieve transparency, those in the fenestration industry, as well as architects and interior designers, have increasingly chosen polycarbonate sheets over glass.

Polycarbonate, in fact, offers many benefits over traditional glass materials, including strength, durability, flexibility, protection, resistance, and more.

How did it start?

Polycarbonates were first discovered in 1898 by Alfred Einhorn, a German scientist at the University of Munich.

But his research was halted until 1953, when scientist Hermann Schnell resumed it and went on to patent the first linear polycarbonate – then a brownish, opaque material.

It was only in 1970 that the material was developed to be just as clear as glass, and since then, the market for it has soared.

Today, polycarbonate can be found in several applications, almost everywhere you look.

It’s used in the technology sector for electrical household appliances, lighting, mobile phones and chargers, and in the automotive sector for headlight casings, head lamp lenses, dashboards, bumpers and body panels.

It’s also used in every day items such as power tools, baby bottles, water dispensers, garden equipment, sporting goods, and even medical equipment.

In recent months, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s been a surge in polycarbonate screens in offices, supermarkets and schools to help with social distancing.

And, within the fenestration industry, despite glass being a common choice for conservatories, polycarbonate has played an increasing role in this popular home improvement option.

In this industry, the benefits speak for themselves.

Polycarbonate is easy to work with, fitting any conservatory roof design regardless of the size or shape, and can last for up to 25 years, meaning both time and money is saved on replacements.

It can also be up to five times cheaper than glass, and because it won’t need to be replaced for at least two decades, customers save even more.

Versatile product range

With so many positives, it’s no wonder polycarbonate remains a big player in the market, and one company that specialises in this material is Novolux, a supplier of multiwall and solid polycarbonate sheet products to the glass and glazing, DIY, and horticultural markets.

Novolux offer the Policarb™ range, where you’ll find multiwall UV-protected polycarbonate sheets, structured with air-cells that ensure excellent thermal insulation and impact resistance.

These multiwall sheets are resistant to UV rays, are energy saving, economical and versatile, and can be used for conservatory roofing, glazing, greenhouses, skylights, verandas, gazebos and shelters.

What’s more, Policarb™ multiwall sheets can be fitted with a complete set of accessories for easy installation. They can also be installed in most PVC, wood, steel and aluminium structures and frames.

Novolux also offer the Policomp™ range, which contains solid polycarbonate sheets that are UV protected on both sides.

These sheets are just as transparent as glass, but weigh half as much, meaning they’re 250 times more impact resistant.

Novolux’s quality polycarbonate sheets are made by multimillion pound Italian firm Dott.Gallina, who are celebrated around the world for their high-tech innovation and consistent product quality, and the company will be offering them in several formats – pallet quantities, full or mixed pallets, single sheets, or cut to size, bespoke products.

Novolux National Sales Manager Craig Weatherley comments: “Because it’s been around for so long, many in the industry might think polycarbonate is a bit old hat, especially when glass and other materials are always alternative options. But if anything, this unique material has come on leaps and bounds over the last few years within the conservatory market, fenestration industry, and other sectors.

“At Novolux, we’re dedicated to offering the best quality polycarbonate sheet on the market, coupled with fast turnaround times, competitive pricing, and excellent customer service.”

In addition to its market-leading range of polycarbonate sheet, Novolux also supply glazing bars and accessories, canopies, Velux roof windows, flat roof lights, roof lanterns and loft ladders, all from stock and on a national basis.

For more information, call  01495 364300, email sales@novolux.co.uk or visit www.novolux.co.uk.