Rigid Transparent Plastics

Published - Jun 2006| Analyst - Melvin Schlechter| Code - PLS003G
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Report Highlights

  • The North American rigid transparent plastics market will reach almost 3.6 billion pounds in 2011. Polycarbonates, acrylics, and polystyrenes accounted for about 80% of total volume in 2005 and will maintain their aggregate share through the end of the decade.
  • The Building/Construction and Electronics segments account for slightly over 50% of total volume. Electronics, Optical Lenses, Medical and Automotive will show the highest growth rates. The Electronic market alone is forecast to comprise about 40% of the total transparent plastic volume increase from 2006 to 2011, which is being led by DVD and CD production.
  • In terms of intra-plastic competition, optical clarity, impact resistance, and UV stability are considered to be the most important physical parameters for rigid transparent plastics. Comparative pricing is also a factor in many instances.


The objective of this study is to provide an analysis of transparent plastics in terms of current and forecasted markets. New developments in clear plastics have expanded usage in existing and new applications, creating competition between polymers exhibiting optical clarity. The competitive scenario between glass and clear plastics will also be provided as well as detailed discussions on the competition between individual transparent plastics. Important suppliers of clear plastics, their product lines and other important factors that impact the market will also be covered.

A search is continuing for special markets by most plastics suppliers, somewhat irrespective of potential volume. Selection criteria focus on growing specialty markets with opportunities for respectable profits even though sales volumes may not be large by commodity resin standards.

Transparent plastics have become a significant market and encompass many types of polymers. In addition to acrylics and polycarbonates, many styrene-based materials, along with commodity and specialty polymers, are available in clear grades. Opportunities in several application areas are in need of reappraisal in regard to transparent or clear plastics especially in the electronics, medical and automotive sectors. Of special interest within the electronics sector is use of transparent plastics as substrates for CDs and DVDs.


This report covers:

  • Rigid, clear, non-packaging plastic parts, which include injection molded, non-film extrusion, and thermoforming (including cast sheet).
  • Clear resins that include: acrylics, polycarbonates, polystyrenes, styrene block copolymers (SBCs), styrene acrylonitrile (SAN), ABS, polysulfones, thermoplastic polyesters (almost exclusively, PET), polypropylene, acrylic-styrene copolymers (SMMA), PVC, nylon, cellulosic resins, cyclic olefin copolymers (COCs), and allyl diglycol carbonate (ADC)
  • Major applications for these rigid transparent plastics: medical, electronic automotive markets, as well as building/construction, housewares, appliances, toys, optical lenses and aircraft transparencies
  • U.S. market forecasts for plastics and applications for the period 2006 through 2011.
  • Company profiles of leading suppliers and their products
  • Tests, standards, regulations affecting the industry.


A comprehensive review was undertaken of the literature relating to clear polymers, their applications and technology, and significant new developments. Included in the review were supplier trade literature, texts, and monographs.

Following collection and analysis of this information, unresolved issues were discussed with producers, suppliers, and fabricators of transparent plastics.

The terms "transparent" and "clear" are used interchangeably. The acronyms PS, PP, and PC are often used to denote polystyrene, polypropylene, and polycarbonate, respectively.

Methylmethacrylate and MMA are also used interchangeably, as are polymethylmethacrylate and PMMA. Methylmethacrylate polymers are also synonymous with PMMA and the terms "acrylics" and/or "acrylic polymers" are often used as well.


Research analyst Mel Schlechter has over 40 years in the chemical industry, and specializes in plastics market research. He has been with BCC Research for over 10 years and holds a B.S in chemistry, M.S. in organic chemistry and a M.B.A. in marketing

Table of Contents & Pricing

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Published - Nov-2001| Analyst - Melvin Schlechter| Code - PLS003F

Report Highlights

  • The North American transparent-plastics market is estimated at more than 2.3 billion pounds in 2001.
  • This market is expected to climb at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 6% to more than 3.1 billion pounds by 2006.
  • Polycarbonates, acrylics, and polystyrenes accounted for almost 80% of total volume in 2001 and will increase their share to 81% by 2006.
  • Growth will be driven by electronic markets, especially CD and DVD markets, particularly rewritable CD versions that primarily use polycarbonates.


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