Polycarbonate Film vs. Synthetic Film



Polycarbonate and Synthetics are both common types of plastic film. Each of them offer a number of high performance properties that make them a powerful choice for product designers and engineers in an array of different industries. However, there are also some key differences between polycarbonate vs synthetic film that make them ideal for specific applications and needs within those industries. 




If you’re wondering about the differences between polycarbonate and synthetic plastic films for your applications, read on for an explanation of the unique properties of each and tips for choosing the one that is best suited to your specific needs.  



Polycarbonate Film



Polycarbonate is a thermoplastic known for its toughness and impact resistance. Often sold under the brand name LEXAN™, from SABIC™, the material is about 20 times more impact resistant than acrylic and nearly 200 times stronger than traditional glass. It’s basically unbreakable at certain gauges. Anyone who uses polycarbonate plastic for corporate or industrial applications likely values this property above all. But the material is also known for providing some optical clarity and ability to withstand various temperatures and conditions. 



In its film form, polycarbonate is amorphous and can be offered in a variety of textures and finishes. A few examples include glossy, matte, and velvet or suede. There are also high performance versions that can have special coatings added to promote scratch resistance, anti-fog capabilities, weather resistance, dimensional stability, and heat and flame resistance. 



Polycarbonate film is also known for being easily customized for a huge array of applications. This is because it can be manipulated with a variety of fabrication processes, including die-cutting, embossing, and thermoforming. Specifically, polycarbonate film is often used in the graphics and print industry due to its superior durability, optical clarity, and variety of visual finishes. Other potential applications include films for automotive interior parts, security ID cards, printed electronics, and medical packaging. 



Synthetic Film



Synthetic films  are typically made up of a thermal laminate material that is actually made from paper mixed with synthetic materials like polyolefin and silica. PPG Teslin® is one of the more common brands for synthetic film materials.



The unique mix of materials allows the plastic film to easily absorb and bond with ink, adhesive, and a variety of coating and laminating films. It also comes in a variety of grades to meet specific applications and various printing and customization requirements. This plastic substrate also offers excellent durability and lamination qualities. 



With all of these qualities in mind, PPG Teslin® is often used in graphics and print applications, along with security cards, labels, and certificates. Basically, it can be used in any projects that require a tough synthetic material that can easily be printed and customized. 



Comparison of Polycarbonate Film vs Synthetic Film 



Now that you understand the basics of both these materials, it’s time to take a closer look at polycarbonate vs teslin for specific applications. Both of these materials can be customized with a variety of finishes, coatings, and graphics. Additionally, they can both be used in printed materials, signage, and ID cards. 



However, there are also plenty of qualities that set these two materials apart from one another. Specifically, polycarbonate offers more strength and impact resistance. So it can stand up against tampering and various weather conditions. This often makes it the optimal choice for outdoor signage, while synthetic films tend to be better for smaller or interior applications. 



Additionally, while both can be used in the production of various printed materials, PPG Teslin® synthetic material  absorbs ink more readily, meaning it’s easier to directly customize these layers with graphics or text, while LEXAN polycarbonate film is often used as a base or protective covering for printed materials. This makes Teslin® ideal for thin printed goods, while LEXAN is often preferred for larger scale signs. 



Additionally, polycarbonate film has a wider range of applications due to its optical clarity. It can also be used in everything from packaging to covering for automotive interiors. However, Teslin® is almost always used in printed goods, signs, ID cards, and labels because of its easy printability and the inclusion of paper in this substrate. 



When choosing between these two materials, think about the specific qualities you want from your application, including lifespan, grades, finishes, strength and durability. Weigh the pros, cons, and qualities of each carefully to ensure you get the ideal plastic films for your company’s needs. 



Additionally, organizations that produce signage, ID cards, and similar products may also make use of both of these materials in various areas. There may be some who have always used Teslin for printed materials but are considering producing a new line of goods that have different operational needs. Understanding the qualities and benefits of other materials like polycarbonate 



When considering polycarbonate vs teslin, it helps to have a plastic films supplier who provides both and can walk you through the qualities and benefits of each. PolymerFilms provides an array of both synthetic and polycarbonate films from industry leading manufacturers like SABIC and PPG®. We can provide a huge array of grades, gauges, finishes, and customization options. 



In addition, our local distribution facilities are spread throughout North America to provide fast quotes and turnaround times to all of our clients. We also employ knowledgeable team members who can provide customized service and guidance to ensure you get the materials and value added services to take your projects to the next level. Visit our website to find your local facility and learn more about the benefits of polycarbonate vs. Teslin and all of our other high performance plastic films.




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