When carbon is bonded to three oxygen molecules by a condensation polymerization process, the resulting product is a polycarbonate material. Polycarbonates were actually first developed in 1898 by Alfred Einhorn, a German chemist, with subsequent research existing until 1930, at which time the material was cast aside. Not until the mid 1950s, when General Electric reintroduced the material, did polycarbonate start gaining in popularity, according to The Plastics Web.
Producing polycarbonate requires high processing temperatures, making it more costly to manufacture, according to The Plastics Web. Consequently the price of polycarbonate exceeds that of standard acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) general purpose plastic resin. Also, polycarbonate is susceptible to degradation when exposed to processing equipment for an extended period.
Polycarbonate possesses only fair resistance to chemicals, according to PolymerTechnology & Services, LLC. Because of this lower resistance factor, polycarbonate deteriorates when exposed to many organic solvents.
Polycarbonate material exhibits aromatic sensitivity or is prone to absorb odors, according to The Plastics Web. Although polycarbonate rates high for impact strength when compared to ABS, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or acrylic, it is subject to stress cracking.