How To Tell Acrylic From Polycarbonate?

Acrylic and polycarbonate are plastic materials that are widely used in lots of applications in wide industry. Acrylic is less expensive and stands up better to exposure to weather and sunlight than polycarbonate. Polycarbonate, however, is much more impact resistant and nearly impossible to shatter.

The two plastics seem very similar at first, difficult to distinguish them but there are very important differences that make it necessary to use the correct material for your project. There are several ways to determine if your plastic is acrylic or polycarbonate. In this article, we will show you some skills to tell acrylic from polycarbonate.

Further Reading

Visual check

Put these two material sheets in natural light, While Acrylic and Polycarbonate appear clear on the surface, you will notice the edge of the Polycarbonate looks blue, while the Acrylic is clear. This is because in the formulation of Polycarbonate, a bluing agent is used.

Attempt to flex the plastic

Under normal temperatures, acrylic is not flexible. Polycarbonate is slightly bendable in most thicknesses under 1 inch.

Check for Clarity

For the product already used a long time, Acrylic is still clear while Polycarbonate yellows overtime when exposed to sunlight, Any yellowing indicates the plastic is polycarbonate.

Apply high heat to a section of the plastic with a MAPP torch. If the plastic immediately clears like it has been polished, it is acrylic. Do not hold the heat in one place for more than a few seconds, because it can damage the plastic.


Scrape a sharp metal object against an inconspicuous area of the plastic. The polycarbonate will scratch much easier than the acrylic. If it scratches easily, it’s polycarbonate

Hitting by a hammer

Hang a corner of the plastic off of a table and press on the opposite side with your hand. Strike the corner with a hammer. If it shatters or cracks, the material is acrylic. If it flexes and remains solid, it is polycarbonate.


Acrylic easy to crack when being drilled near the edge while Polycarbonate does not break even if drilled close to the border with a standard drill bit.


acrylic burning creaking, not smoking, fire can be pulled out of the filament. While Polycarbonate cannot burn up, black smoke.


Normally, if you tried the methods above, you will find out which is Acrylic or polycarbonate, because of the different property of them. KUSLA provides High-quality plastic sheets which could be 100% reliable.

  • polycarbonate Cutting: A complete guide

    polycarbonate Cutting: A complete guide

    Cutting polycarbonate is widely use in many applications like cutting acrylic. but cutting polycarbonate sheet is easy because it is very strong and also heat resistant, so no cracking happens when cutting polycarbonate. in this article, we will show you different methods and tips on how to cut polycarbonate sheet including using different jaws, Knife… – Read More

  • Complete Guide to Cut polycarbonate

    Complete Guide to Cut polycarbonate

    Polycarbonate is an exceptional type of plastic known for its strength, transparency, and remarkable resistance to both heat and impact. It is used in various industries due to its outstanding qualities, particularly in impact-resistant and transparent. This versatile material is used in creating eyewear lenses, automotive components, protective gear, greenhouses, and more. Unlike many other… – Read More

  • Polycarbonate bending: The ultimate Guide

    Polycarbonate bending: The ultimate Guide

    Polycarbonate bent parts used in a wide range of applications such as windscreens, Protective covers. Unlike acrylic only could be heat bending, Polycarbonate sheets can be bent or deformed both from hot and cold bending. In this article, we’ll provide insights into the mechanics of polycarbonate plastic bending and share effective techniques for achieving the… – Read More