ABS VS Polycarbonate | Material Properties, Price

Polycarbonate and ABS plastic are widely used in a wide range of applications. They are both thermoplastic elastomers and have some common use such as plastic luggage, and plastic boxes.  but have their unique set of properties. Polycarbonate is an amorphous thermoplastic polymer with excellent impact resistance, rigid and temperature resistance. It is made from bisphenol A and diphenyl carbonate. ABS is made from three types of monomers: acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene. ABS has impact resistance, processability, heat distortion temperature, and gloss property.

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Typical properties Comparison of ABS VS Polycarbonate

Specific gravity D7921.041.2
Light transmittance (transparency/clarity)%D1003/86
Tensile elongation %D6384.5135
Heat deflection temperature @ 66 psi/264 psi°FD648200280
Maximum continuous service temperature in air°F 160240
Flexural strengthpsiD79017,00013,500
Tensile strengthpsiD6384,1009,500
Tensile modulus of elasticity psiD638294,000345,000
Flexural modulus of elasticity psiD790302,000345,000
Compressive strength(10% Deformation )psiD695/12,500
Izod impact (notched, 73°F)ft-lbs/inD2567.612.0 – 16.0
Coefficient of linear thermal expansionin/in/°Fx10-5D6965.63.8
Dialectic strengthV/milD149/380
Water absorption (immersion 24 hours)%D5700.30.15
  • ABS Pipe

    ABS Pipe

  • ABS Sheet

    ABS Sheet

  • Polycarbonate Film

    Polycarbonate Film

  • Polycarbonate Tube

    Polycarbonate Tube

  • Polycarbonate Rod

    Polycarbonate Rod

  • Polycarbonate Sheet

    Polycarbonate Sheet

Side-By-Side Comparison of ABS VS Polycarbonate

PriceGenerally inexpensiveAverage-high price
Impact ResistanceHighExtremely High
Heat ResistanceWorks up to 80 ºCWorks up to 130 ºC
Scratch-resistanceScratch-resistantProne to surface scratches over time
Chemical ResistanceGoodGood
UV ResistanceBadFair
SafetyNon-toxic, but not suitable for medical implantsNon-toxic, used exclusively in medical implants. 
Fire ResistanceIgnites at 416 ºCIgnites at 580 ºC. Self-extinguishing
Coloropaque, whiteTransparent, opaque

Workability Comparison of ABS VS Polycarbonate

When your project requires CNC machining, injection molding, or 3D printing, you can reliably depend on ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and PC (polycarbonate) thermoplastics to suit your specific needs. here we list the benefits of both materials with those three machining methods.  

CNC Machining 1. Quick and affordable
2. Great impact strength and good dimensional stability
3. Good electrical insulator
4. Resistant to most types of fluids
1. Excellent dimensional stability and good strength and stiffness
2. Superior impact strength and durability
3. highly transparent
4. excellent electrical and properties
Injection Molding1. Ideal choice for molding applications that require an inexpensive, strong, stiff plastic
2. Holds up well to external impacts
3. excellent dimensional stability and high stability under load
4. resistant to most oils, acids, and alkalis
1. Good thermal resistance
2. Easy to work with via molding and thermoforming
3. Parts and components have high impact strength, excellent rigidity, and clear transparency
4. High strength retention at elevated temperatures, with superior resistance to temperature extremes

ABS VS polycarbonate which is best for luggage set?

Durability: Luggage is subjected to a lot of wear and tear; you bang it against the trunk of your car, drag it up the stairs and stuff it into storage compartments. Polycarbonate is much more flexible than ABS, so it returns quickly to its original shape even when it has been squished at the bottom of the baggage pile.

Impact Resistance: Impact resistance is a key factor when choosing a quality suitcase. Your luggage has a lot of possibility to fall from somewhere in height. Overall polycarbonate has almost twice the impact strength of ABS composite material.

Weight: ABS is heavier than polycarbonate, with a medium-sized ABS upright typically weighing approximately 2 pounds more than its polycarbonate counterpart. With airlines ever-increasing weight restrictions and overweight fees you want your luggage to be as lightweight as possible. so polycarbonate luggage will be a better choice.

Availability: Due to the shorter life span of ABS luggage, polycarbonate luggage on the market is more than ABS, So you will have more choices if you choose polycarbonate luggage.

Price: ABS is definitely cheaper than polycarbonate but It’s typically manufactured by less well-known companies and therefore you might face difficulties with a warranty or customer service concerns. If you have a budget limit and It is your first priority, then ABS luggage will your choice.


Luggage is an investment that can make or break your trip. Overall, Polycarbonate luggage is more cost-effective if you consider all the factors to use your luggage.  KULSA, as an ABS sheet and polycarbonate sheet manufacturer in China, has a rich knowledge about these two materials. contact us if you have more questions about the difference between ABS and polycarbonate.