Confused by the huge number of enclosure products on the market? Then this article is for you! There are many materials available and in use in the enclosure industry, and each has its own pros and cons. We feel that if the enclosure best suited for your current application is not EZ2CY®, being honest with you now will enable us to be a consideration on your future vessels. The article is available in two formats: online, and printable. You can access the online version directly by clicking on the menu buttons above.
This information is an attempt to untangle the confusing, confounding and often costly mystery of the various clear products used in the making of enclosures for the boating world. Many would prefer that this all stay a mystery. However we are dedicated to serving the boating public with honesty and integrity. It is our belief that giving the consumer information so they can make an informed choice is the ethical and proper path for all companies. Not every boat or owner is a candidate for any particular enclosure. Making the right choice is in everyone’s best interest! To achieve this education you need clear information! The enclosed is our attempt to “Clear” the mystery.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT PRODUCTS?
It may at first seem a simple task to explain the different materials however the different materials go by many different trade names and are not always clearly identified. We hope the following will help make you aware of what the products are.
- Comparison of EZ2CY®
- Light Transmittance
- Tensile Strength
- 5,000 Hours1
- Light Transmittance ASTM D1003
- Yellow Index D1925
- Haze ASTM D1003
- Tensile Strength D638
- A word about U.V.
Recently some companies have implied that their product will protect the public from more of the harmful Ultraviolet radiation than the competitions product does. One company suggests that the rainbow effect seen when looking through its product with polarized sunglasses lets you know that a special coating is protecting you. This just isn’t the case.
First: All of the products on the market filter out almost the same amount of harmful U.V.
Second: Look through un-coated polycarbonate with the same glasses and you will see the same rainbow.
Acrylic is made from transparent thermoplastic resins formed by polymerizing esters of acrylic acid or methacrylic acid. Acrylic is the clearest of the products used for enclosures. It is in fact clearer than normal real glass. Acrylic cannot be sewn through, no matter what thickness! Therefore, conventional means of constructing an enclosure cannot be used.
BRAND NAMES OF ACRYLIC INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO THE FOLLOWING: Acrylite®, PLEXIGLAS®, LUCITE®, Plaskolite®.
There are also MODIFIED ACRYLICS: These are acrylics with an additive that impart special properties making them more break resistant. These properties also make them slightly more susceptible to scratching and having more haze than the conventional acrylic. Modified acrylics include; IMPLEX®, DURAPLEX® and others. CYRO®, a leading manufacturer of Acrylic has recently introduced “Acrylite Plus”, a modified acrylic that seems to have overcome deficiencies of the past modified products.
COATED ACRYLICS are also available; these acrylics have a coating that makes them more scratch resistant. However, scratches that do occur cannot be buffed out of coated products. One of the most widely known coated acrylics is LUCITE®SAR.
ACRYLICS are inherently resistant to UV (ACRYLITE® has a manufacturers warranty stating it will not change by more than 3% light transmittance or 3 on the yellow index in ten years). Coatings are not necessary for this attribute. Acrylics are also resistant to many chemicals that are readily found around boats such as diesel oils (smoke film) and turpentine.
Acrylite® 92%-3% in 10 years0.1-3% in 10 years0.24.8%10,000 lbs
A notable downfall of acrylic would be its break ability. When bent beyond its limit (typically during opening or closing) it can break. However a Tensile Strength (that which is exhibited during use in the closed position) of 10,000 lbs. is greater than any of the other materials discussed herein, excluding vinyl which will stretch. In the application of boat enclosures this downfall is easily avoided by learning proper handling procedures. In addition, “ACRYLITE® Plus” has limited this problem to a great degree and is now used in all EZ2CY® Enclosures.