Polycarbonate is a versatile, tough plastic used for a variety of applications, from bulletproof windows to compact disks (CDs). The main advantage of polycarbonate over other types of plastic is unbeatable strength combined with light weight. While acrylic is 17% stronger than glass, polycarbonate is nearly unbreakable. Bulletproof windows and enclosures as seen inside banks or at drive-throughs are often made of polycarbonate. Add to this the advantage that polycarbonate is just one-third the weight of acrylic, or one-sixth as heavy as glass, and the only drawback is that it is more expensive than either acrylic or glass.
Polycarbonate is also used in the electronics industry. Apple’s original iMac featured polycarbonate mixed with clear colors for a transparent computer case. Many cell phones, pagers, and laptops also use clear or opaque polycarbonate in their casings.
Polycarbonate lenses are also used in quality sunglasses that incorporate filters to block ultra-violet (UV) rays and near-UV rays. The lenses can also be polarized to block glare, and their high impact resistance makes them perfect for sports. Many sunglasses manufacturers choose polycarbonate because it can be easily shaped without problems like cracking or splitting, resulting in extremely lightweight, distortion-free, fashionable glasses that feature all of the health benefits doctors recommend.