Acrylic drinkware and polycarbonate are frequently mistaken as if they were the same type of plastic, although in reality they are very different. However, they share some characteristics. Both are light and high transparency, but are made using different processes and materials. They also have different advantages, disadvantages and applications.
Manufacturing acrylic drinkware and polycarbonate
Polycarbonate is also made by a process called free radical polymerization. The polycarbonate you see on the shielded glass contains bisphenol A and is a thermoplastic, which means it can be molded when it is hot. The polycarbonate used in the manufacture of lenses and bottles, is made using the second procedure and is called thermoset plastic, indicating that it does not melt easily and can not be molded.
However, Acrylic drinkware typically contains polymethylmethacrylate, or PMMA, and is frequently sold as Plexiglass or Lucite. Acrylic plastic polymers are formed by a process called mass polymerization that uses either a batch process or a continuous method to form the plastic, depending on the shape and thickness of the plastic required. Polycarbonate is sometimes called bisphenol A polycarbonate. This is because it can be made with bisphenol A and phosgene. The production process of this polycarbonate begins by reacting bisphenol A with sodium hydroxide, giving the sodium salt of bisphenol A as the product , which is then reacted with phosgene.