Clear as Crystal? – Clear Plastic Parts

Clear plastic parts

BSA have a lot of experience helping our customers specify the correct grade of material that best matches their application.

Traditionally when a customer specifies clarity in a product the natural material selected would be polystyrene (PS), used typically in packaging, or polycarbonate (PC), used in typically more technical applications such LCD monitors and console displays.


However, both these materials have some mechanical and chemical resistance short-comings that prevent their use in certain applications.

At this point I have to point out that the alternatives don’t have the light transmission properties of their mainstream polymers – but do provide some solutions to problems that would require either very complicated or very expensive alternatives.


For example, in hydraulic systems it is often important to have a visual indication of reservoir levels

Where oils and solvents are present neither PS or PC have good enough chemical resistance to be specified. Often these systems can get hot, be in hazardous environments or need to be impact resistant.


A choice for this type of application would be clarified PA-12 nylon. See the EMS website for more details:

This material is significantly more expensive than some alternatives but it’s combination of impact, chemical and temperature resistance makes it the perfect choice for challenging environments.


Next month we’ll suggest some alternative “clear” polymers for less demanding applications.

Clear plastic parts
A PA-12 Sight Glass