With many businesses electing to open their doors amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, keeping employees and customers safe from disease is critical. Although many of these businesses have taken the appropriate steps towards establishing a safer environment, there are still additional layers of protection that can be added. In addition to requiring face coverings and maintaining social distancing, installing plastic safety partitions between customers or employees could help reduce the spread of disease. These barriers would specifically be advantageous for stores and facilities that have limited space such as gyms, hair salons, and casinos.
About These Barriers
Before installing these protective barriers, it’s important for these businesses to understand the unique characteristics and benefits of each material. There are a variety of barrier applications to choose from, but the performance plastic materials used in each product are usually the same. Some of these materials include extruded acrylic, cast acrylic, polycarbonate, PETG, fluted polypropylene, Kydex, and HDPE. Because each business may have a different use for their barriers, they should carefully consider the characteristics of each material to ensure they choose the barrier that will work best for their application. Furthermore, many businesses have traditionally opted to use clear materials such as acrylic and polycarbonate because of their exceptional clarity, durability, and lightweight characteristics.
Properties of Acrylic and Polycarbonate
Although cast acrylic and extruded acrylic have certain properties that are different, the following information will be a general description of acrylic. Acrylic sheet is a clear plastic material with great optical clarity, strength, and stiffness, and it can be easily fabricated and formed. When compared to glass, acrylic is approximately half the weight and has 10 times more impact resistance. Acrylic has a tensile strength of 10,000 psi, and an IZOD impact of 0.4 ft-lbs/in notched. Acrylic can also be easily thermoformed and has a heat deflection temperature of 195°F (90.5°C) at 264 psi. When compared to polycarbonate, acrylic is more rigid and has a harder surface making it harder to scratch.
Polycarbonate sheet typically shares many of the same characteristics and properties as acrylic, but in some instances may be a better option depending on the application for the material. Polycarbonate is a transparent plastic with tremendous strength, impact resistance, and toughness. It is also 25 times more impact resistant than acrylic and can be easily fabricated. Typical polycarbonate sheet has a tensile strength of 9,500 psi and an IZOD impact between 12.0 and 16.0 ft-lbs/in notched. Polycarbonate is also water resistant and can be easily thermoformed with a specific heat deflection temperature of 270°F (132.2°C) at 264 psi. In order to meet the requirements of your application, Piedmont Plastics is also able to custom cut your order and has additional color options available.
How to Clean Plastic Materials
Even though these plastic materials can provide an additional layer of disease protection, they still need to be cleaned and sanitized regularly in order to maintain effectiveness. It is important to use the appropriate cleaning solutions on your plastic applications because not every material can withstand the harsh chemicals of every cleaner. If the proper cleaning solutions are not used, the quality of the material could reduce dramatically. At Piedmont Plastics, we offer a variety of cleaners for almost any application. The Brillianize product line is certainly one of the more popular options, and it is specifically formulated to clean, preserve, and protect plastic surfaces such as acrylic and polycarbonate. For more information on how to properly clean and sanitize your application, you can read this article, or contact your local branch to speak to one of our plastics experts!
Although the demand for plastic sheet has led to a reduced supply, Piedmont Plastics has invested in and planned for consistent availability of materials across our branch network, significantly reducing published manufacturer lead times. This planned inventory will provide our customers with the clear materials they need for a wide array of barrier applications. Piedmont Plastics’ business is built to make inventory transfers among our branches fast and simple, and our comprehensive team approach creates a culture that encourages them. With over 48 stocking locations throughout North America, we can easily transfer materials among our branches to meet the needs of our customers.
At Piedmont Plastics, we offer a wide variety of performance plastic materials for your protective applications. Contact us to inquire about our various solutions or call us today to speak with an expert! You can also read our safety partition solutions brochure or social distancing solutions brochure for more information about our social distancing products and barrier solutions!