Polycarbonate Manifolds

Transparent, colorless polycarbonate dispensing manifold

Polycarbonate is known as a highly versatile, tough plastic that is easy to machine, polish, weld, and bond. Polycarbonate manifolds offer high modules of elasticity without compromising their strength or structure. Polycarbonate’s excellent electrical properties and low moisture absorption extend its viability for use in electronic applications. For even more rigidity, polycarbonate can be reinforced with glass fiber.

Polycarbonate Manifolds At A Glance

  • 10% more costly than acrylic
  • Highly impact resistant
  • High clarity
  • Continuous service temperature to 225°F
  • Better chemical resistance; good for alcohols
  • Available as a USP Class VI material
  • Gray or purple tint typical
  • Scratches easily

Polycarbonate bonded manifolds are quickly replacing acrylic as a baseline material. Modestly more expensive, polycarbonate is readily bonded and it supports higher temperatures, and has better chemical resistance than acrylic.

Multi-layer laminated manifold configurations are possible with polycarbonate, as are .020 or smaller channels (depending on the application). Square channels are not preferred; manifolds should be designed with either D-shaped or full round channels. Channel spacing as close as 1x nearest feature size are possible. Flat bottom ½-28 ports or similar can be placed on the bond line. Surface finish for valve mounting can be as good as 20 micro inches.

When bonded, engineers can expect a very clear manifold (with a light grey or purplish tint, if tinted stock is used). For frequent assembly and disassembly of pumps or valves, consider heat-staked threaded inserts over direct machined threads or helicoils (note: polycarbonate is stress sensitive to long-term loading in stress risers). The pullout strength (and low stress on components) make inserts a best-practice choice for manifold design.

More about Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate has the capacity to transmit 88% of light, making it ideal for windows and other products. Light transmittal, along with its superior impact resistance and toughness, makes polycarbonate an excellent choice for sight glasses, other optical uses, and housing parts. It is highly utilized in aircraft, fluid handling, electronic manufacturing and the automotive industries.

Similar to acrylic, polycarbonate is available nearly clear or tinted gray or purple. It is available both in UV-stabilized and non-stabilized FDA/USP Class VI bio-compatible versions. The material’s impact resistance serves to reduce its hardness, making it more susceptible to scratching than acrylic. Polycarbonate has good dimensional stability, from -40°F to 280°F.

Polycarbonate's General Engineering Characteristics

  • Tensile strength at yield: 8900 psi
  • Tensile modulus: 340,000 psi
  • Flexural strength: 13,500
  • Flexural modulus: 340,000
  • Heat deflection temperature: 270°F at 264 psi
  • Flammability: V0 & 94HB
  • Bio-compatible – USP Class 6
  • Half the weight of glass
  • Continuous service temperature to 250°F
  • Available in clear window grade