Water Absorption: Flat Polycarbonate Lexan Explained

In this glossary article, we delve into the fascinating world of flat polycarbonate Lexan, specifically focusing on its water absorption properties. Flat polycarbonate Lexan, a type of thermoplastic polymer, is renowned for its exceptional strength, durability, and versatility. It is widely used in various industries, including construction, automotive, and electronics, due to its superior properties. One of these properties is its ability to absorb water, which can significantly influence its performance and longevity.

Understanding the water absorption characteristics of flat polycarbonate Lexan is crucial for its effective application. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of this topic, discussing the concept of water absorption, the factors influencing it, the implications of water absorption, and the methods to control and measure it. By the end of this article, you will have a deep understanding of water absorption in flat polycarbonate Lexan and how it impacts its use in various applications.

Understanding Water Absorption

Water absorption refers to the process by which a material takes up water through its surface and retains it. This process can occur through various mechanisms, including capillary action, diffusion, and permeation. The degree of water absorption can vary widely among different materials, depending on their physical and chemical properties.

In the context of flat polycarbonate Lexan, water absorption is a critical factor that can influence its properties and performance. While this material is generally resistant to water, it can still absorb a small amount of water when exposed to humid conditions or direct contact with water. This water absorption can lead to changes in the material’s dimensions, weight, and mechanical properties, which can impact its performance in various applications.

Factors Influencing Water Absorption

Several factors can influence the water absorption of flat polycarbonate Lexan. These include the material’s composition, structure, and surface condition, as well as the environmental conditions to which it is exposed.

The composition and structure of flat polycarbonate Lexan can significantly influence its water absorption. For instance, materials with a high degree of crystallinity tend to have lower water absorption than amorphous materials. Similarly, materials with a compact and dense structure are less likely to absorb water than those with a porous structure.

Implications of Water Absorption

The water absorption of flat polycarbonate Lexan can have several implications. One of the most significant is the potential for dimensional changes. When this material absorbs water, it can expand, leading to an increase in its dimensions. This can cause problems in applications where precise dimensions are critical.

Another implication of water absorption is the potential impact on the material’s mechanical properties. Water absorption can lead to a reduction in the material’s strength and stiffness, which can compromise its performance in load-bearing applications. Furthermore, water absorption can also lead to changes in the material’s electrical properties, which can affect its use in electronic applications.

Controlling Water Absorption

Given the potential implications of water absorption, it is crucial to control this process in flat polycarbonate Lexan. There are several strategies that can be used to achieve this, ranging from material selection and design to surface treatments and environmental control.

Material selection and design can play a significant role in controlling water absorption. By choosing materials with low water absorption and designing the material in a way that minimizes its exposure to water, it is possible to reduce the amount of water that the material absorbs.

Surface Treatments

Surface treatments can also be effective in controlling water absorption. These treatments can alter the surface properties of the material, making it more resistant to water. Some of the most common surface treatments include coating, painting, and sealing, all of which can provide a barrier that prevents water from penetrating the material.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of these treatments can vary depending on the specific conditions to which the material is exposed. Therefore, it’s crucial to carefully consider the intended application and environmental conditions when selecting a surface treatment.

Environmental Control

Environmental control is another strategy that can be used to control water absorption. This involves controlling the environmental conditions to which the material is exposed, such as temperature, humidity, and exposure to water. By maintaining these conditions within certain limits, it is possible to minimize the amount of water that the material absorbs.

For instance, storing the material in a dry, cool environment can help to reduce its water absorption. Similarly, using the material in applications where it is not directly exposed to water can also help to control water absorption.

Measuring Water Absorption

Measuring the water absorption of flat polycarbonate Lexan is crucial for understanding its behavior and performance. There are several methods that can be used to measure water absorption, each with its own advantages and limitations.

The most common method for measuring water absorption is the gravimetric method. This involves weighing the material before and after exposure to water, with the difference in weight representing the amount of water absorbed. This method is simple and straightforward, but it may not be accurate for materials that absorb very small amounts of water.

Other Measurement Methods

Other methods for measuring water absorption include the volumetric method, the spectroscopic method, and the electrical method. The volumetric method involves measuring the change in volume of the material after water absorption, while the spectroscopic method involves using spectroscopic techniques to detect the presence of water in the material.

The electrical method, on the other hand, involves measuring the change in the material’s electrical properties after water absorption. This method can be highly accurate, but it requires specialized equipment and expertise.

Interpreting Measurement Results

Interpreting the results of water absorption measurements can be complex, as the amount of water absorbed by a material can depend on a variety of factors. These include the material’s composition and structure, the environmental conditions, and the duration of exposure to water.

Therefore, when interpreting the results of water absorption measurements, it’s important to consider all of these factors. Additionally, it’s crucial to compare the results with the material’s specifications and performance requirements to determine whether the level of water absorption is acceptable.


Understanding the water absorption of flat polycarbonate Lexan is crucial for its effective use in various applications. By understanding the factors that influence this process, the implications of water absorption, and the methods to control and measure it, it is possible to optimize the performance and longevity of this material.

While this article provides a comprehensive overview of water absorption in flat polycarbonate Lexan, it’s important to remember that each application is unique and may require a tailored approach. Therefore, it’s always recommended to consult with a material specialist or engineer when selecting and using this material.

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