Thursday, 23 March 2017

How has Polycarbonate Become Popular over The Years?


The discovery of polycarbonatesheet dates back to the year 1898 when a German chemist named Alfred Einhorn observed the formation of an insoluble and infusible solid while trying to prepare cyclic carbonates by combining hydroquinone and phosgene. However, polycarbonate was independently discovered in 1953 by Dr. H. Schnell of Germany and D.W. Fox of USA. Since then, it has been used in commercial applications. Dr. H. Schnell discovered polycarbonate in the laboratory when he was searching for ways to advance his company’s technologies. On the other hand, D.W. Fox unintentionally discovered the material while working on a wire-coating material. Both of them filed for US patents in 1955. Both the companies began commercial production of the material under their own trade name between 1958 and 1960. In 1960, polycarbonate started being used in police, fire, and ambulance vehicles as bubble lights.





Later in 1970, the material began being used in space shuttle windshields and astronaut helmet visors. The coloured tint of polycarbonate sheet was eliminated in 1971, after which it was sold as a glass-like clear material, allowing natural daylight to seep in. It soon found its usage in other applications like displays and plug connections, distributor and fuse boxes, greenhouses, and public buildings. However, it was very expensive, thus limiting its usage to a constricted range of applications.
In 1982, polycarbonate quickly replaced audio tapes by being introduced in the form of an audio-CD. Within the next ten years, the optical media technology included CD-ROMs. Five years later, DVDs were also released. Mid-1980s saw 18 litre water bottles that were placed on water coolers being made of polycarbonate too. The year 1987 made polycarbonate highly popular in the medical industry by introducing its usage in a variety of medical devices like blood filters, blood oxygenators, blood reservoirs, and kidney dialysis cartridges. By the end of 1980s, polycarbonate was popularly used in automotive headlamps too.

Polycarbonate became highly popular in the 1990s because of its high performance as a resin. However, it was in a slightly different form then as compared to what we see today. In 2010, polycarbonates became so highly popular that they started being used for commercial and residential furniture. And today, we all know how popular polycarbonate has become to replace glass, acrylic, and other traditional materials in a variety of applications.

Today, the process of manufacturing polycarbonate has become very streamlined, which begins with the distillation of hydrocarbon fuels into lighter groups known as fractions. These fractions are used in combination with different catalysts to create polycarbonates of different varieties, utilizing the processes of polycondensation or polymerization. There are varieties of grades of polycarbonates being made today, depending on the manufacturer and his processes. Tuflite Polymers produces A-grade quality polycarbonate panels in various categories like solid, textured, corrugated, profiled, and multiwalls. 

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