Polycarbonate is a strong, light weight, flexible glazing material used in place of glass, for its thermal performance durability. Polycarbonate comes in various thicknesses and colors ranging from 6mm to 50mm. Due to its versatile nature polycarbonate can be used in any commercial or residential glazing application needed, including skylights, greenhouses, and canopies. For example, a 20mm thick piece of polycarbonate offers a U-value of .29 and will not break upon impact.
Polycarbonates are polymers that contain carbonate groups that are temperature and impact resistant. Polycarbonates were first discovered in 1898 by Alfred Einhorn. After 30 years of laboratory research the project was abandoned. In 1953 Hermann Schnell at Bayer resumed research on polycarbonates and patented the first linear polycarbonate under the trade name Makrolon in Germany. A week later, in New York, Daniel Fox at GE synthesized a branched polycarbonate. In 1955 both companies filed for US patents and the patent was awarded to Bayer who released commercial polycarbonate, known as Makrolon. In 1960 GE began polycarbonate production under the name Lexan.