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Topic: What polymer should I use instead of polycarbonate  (Read 6130 times)

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Offline jjssj

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What polymer should I use instead of polycarbonate
« on: July 09, 2010, 07:19:03 PM »
The polymer is to be used for rodent housing (cage).

I need to find a polymer which has the properties shown below.

Polycarbonate

Before I go into the specification required, I have researched and have come up with polycarbonate.
As it has high impact strength, is 200x stronger than glass, and is cheaper. This polymer has many more features that are brilliant.

However there are problems with this material that I would like to overcome.
How long the material will stay clear when subdued to the following;
1. Hot water (50c)
2. Animal cleaning agents
3. Fairy liquid
4. Manual cleaning with sponge/cloth
5. Scratches created by the rodent

Basically all the operations/chemicals above must not create any scratches or cause the polymer to fog up until a long time; it must stay clear as possible. White scratches are more of a problem than the depth of the scratch.

I am unclear on the information provided but I believe polycarbonate is not designed to stay clear under these circumstances.
The material would be cleaned at least once a week

One of the most aspects of not using polycarbonate is the price that it is at.
The material has a huge impact on final price of the product. As polycarbonate is quite expensive compared to other polymers, it makes the total cost of the product high, therefore customers will have to pay a higher price than the average price of a cage. (Even if the material is better)

These are the properties the polymer requires;

[Clear] As transparent as possible, lets in 100% light (If possible)
High Scratch Resistant
Easy to clean, with hot water, mild cleaning agents and not get scratched or change in the light coming through the polymer, until a long time.
Safe for human and animal contact
Durable, the material will last long
Strong and tough i.e. if dropped from a table it will not crack or cause any large imperfections on the surface.
Very malleable, easy to machine, mould
Not too brittle

Sorry for the long explanation I’m a college student.
Thanks for any help it will be much appreciated

Offline Biopolmonkey

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Re: What polymer should I use instead of polycarbonate
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2010, 04:47:42 AM »
Maybe Perspex / Poly (methyl methacrylate)?

If you are making a hamster cage, it's also worth thinking about ventilation - there is a school of thought that keeping small animals in tanks is bad (though some people do so without problem) wrt to air flow through the environment. I have caged upper levels on my hamsters tank to help with this (bonus: she loves it).

Offline jjssj

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Re: What polymer should I use instead of polycarbonate
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2010, 02:19:14 PM »
Maybe Perspex / Poly (methyl methacrylate)?

If you are making a hamster cage, it's also worth thinking about ventilation - there is a school of thought that keeping small animals in tanks is bad (though some people do so without problem) wrt to air flow through the environment. I have caged upper levels on my hamsters tank to help with this (bonus: she loves it).

Thanks for the suggestion. The idea came about owning a hamster. The cage took ages too clean and was difficult due to complex geometries and the material being difficult to clean.
The problem that i have discovered with cages out now, are they begin to lose their transparency over a certain period of time, when being subjected to cleaning. They are also created from brittle polymers (well the one i had).
"there is a school of thought that keeping small animals in tanks is bad",
The minimal floor area for a hamster should be 1000cm^2. I have thought about floor space and have taken care of adequate floor spacing (around 2000cm^2 area) the ventilation within the cage will be researched, and will be implemented not a big worry at the moment.
As for keeping a hamster in cage or not, can be argued, but all I can say were else should hamsters be kept?  (as pets)
Noting cages with bars are bad, as most hamsters even if provided with chew toys (they will eventually get bored) end up gnawing on them endlessly, which could lead to breaking their teeth, or could cause brain damage.
Thanks again for all the help



Offline typhoon2028

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Re: What polymer should I use instead of polycarbonate
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2010, 07:38:56 AM »
polypropylene

Offline jjssj

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Re: What polymer should I use instead of polycarbonate
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2010, 02:19:49 PM »
polypropylene


I would so use that if it was more transparent than polycarbonate

http://www.cater4you.co.uk/blog/2007_11_01_archive.html
Seach for the glass which is polycarbonate and then just below it should be a polyproplene storage box, polycarbonate is much more transparent. I am not sure if polyproplene can get even more clearer, however even if it could it would just add to manufacturing costs.

Offline typhoon2028

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Re: What polymer should I use instead of polycarbonate
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2010, 04:27:02 PM »
PP can be made more clear, just not sure how much

You have many restrictions.  Glass may be the cheapest option

Offline jjssj

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Re: What polymer should I use instead of polycarbonate
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2010, 06:30:11 PM »
Glass is much more expensieve in long term, as it has higher manufacturing costs, is heavier both for the consumer (little kids will be handling it) it also would cost more to deliver.
Polycarbonate isn't that expensive the only downside is the cost and its low scratch resistant (However a coating can be applied to increase the scratch resistance)
I've emailed a local plastic manufacturing company, asking them if they can supply clear pp.
Thanks all the help much appreciated

Offline gluedudeguru

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Re: What polymer should I use instead of polycarbonate
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2010, 08:49:51 AM »
Butyrate or CAB?

Happy mix of the differnt plastics aforementioned?

PET? 

I dont know if PE can get clear enough.

Offline jjssj

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Re: What polymer should I use instead of polycarbonate
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2010, 10:51:37 AM »
Quote
Butyrate or CAB?

Happy mix of the differnt plastics aforementioned?

PET?

I dont know if PE can get clear enough.

Hard to get infomation on this polymer, but i will do further research.

At the moment i am concentrating on the geometry and just getting as many suggestions as possible, once the geometry is sorted. The full investigation into what type of plastic im going to use. However at the moment lexan's high scratch resistant polycarbonate is the favourite at the moment, as i would only require 1mm thickness, reducing costs.

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