Many Ice Hockey rings have replace the glass spectator shielding with the acrylic one a long time age. The acrylic one is much more safe due to the fact that it is a lot flexible which lowers the risk of injuries. Other feature that allowed acrylic to be chosen as the replacement are its optical properties, which allow a good view by the spectators.
Polymers were not considered to be as good of a replacement as the acrylic because its optical properties were believe to be much poorer. But, thanks to huge advancements in the process of production, the polycarbonate has completely changed the equation today.
Even though the thickness of both the polycarbonate and the acrylic is pretty much the same, the polycarbonate is up to 25% more flexible than the other material. This allow for a much smaller chances of concussions by players occurring, which is one of the main safety concerns here. Other great thing about polycarbonate is the fact that it is unbreakable, which allows it to reduce its thickness, from 0.54” (which is the same as acrylic), down to as little as 0.32”! This not only allows greater safety and thinner shielding with pretty much the same safety features, it also allows it to be far more flexible, further reducing the risk of concussions! These calculations have been proven time and again, basically proving that the polycarbonate is a far better replacement than the acrylic.
Previously, there were occurrences in which the acrylic glass has shattered, which caused some safety concerns. This will never happen with the polycarbonate because, as we have already mentioned, it is virtually unbreakable. Also, it will save time on the replacement of the acrylic shielding, because in the case of polycarbonate, there is no need for replacement, due to the fact that it will never break!
Also, when we reduce the thickness, we also reduce the weight, meaning that the polycarbonate shielding is much lighter. This also makes the shielding a lot more easy to install, because there won’t be so many people needed for that process.
It should also be added that there is one improvement that will prove to everyone that polycarbonate is a far better choice than the acrylic. This improvement comes in the form of the optical quality provided by polycarbonate, which is far superior to the one provided by the acrylic. Even though the optical properties are pretty much the same between the polycarbonate and the acrylic, there is one small matter that makes the polycarbonate optical properties a lot better – polycarbonate is a lot thinner! We’ve already mentioned that, and this is something that allows the this type of shielding to have a better optical quality, and provide a better view for the spectators.
These are just some of the features that have shown everyone that polycarbonate is much superior to acrylic, which is slowly starting to be replaced by the former. It offers better view, it is a lot easier to install, it is much thinner, it’s much more flexible, allowing for a lot less injuries, etc. All of this just proved that polycarbonate is far superior to acrylic.