Does plastic scratch? — Plastic Solutions | Ireland | Company No. 064762 Skip to content
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Does plastic scratch?

The honest answer is Yes, all plastic panels can be scratched.

It is possible to purchase 'hard coat' type plastics that have an additional layer of clear lacquer (like a clear nail varnish) on them to protect the surface. Mostly, these types of plastics are specified by architects or engineers for particular industrial or design purposes. As such they are scheduled on specialist production runs at mills and are made, supplied and fitted as part of large commercial projects with likely minimum order quantities (MOQ) in place.

For the average person wanting to buy 'one' of something like this, the cost often outweighs the benefit and we have no problem recommending that you buy a panel of glass instead as this will be less likely to scratch.

Scratching Plastic Vs Scratching Glass.

You can't see it with the naked eye but on a microscopic level, here's what's actually happening when the surface is scratched.

With GLASS, a score or scratch means that tiny microscopic shards or splinters of glass break away from the surface. Depending on the depth of the scratch, despite tiny glass splinters coming away, the surface is often not dramatically changed to the visible eye as the remaining glass surface tends to 'fill in' by reflecting and refracting light in and around the scratch channel.

While visibly, there is little difference, again depending on the depth of the scratch channel, the surface integrity or 'strength' of the glass panel can actually be changing. Environmental conditions like extreme heat and cold can further enhance and amplify the damage and pressure applied in just the right area - like a sudden impact - could eventually cause the panel the crack at the scratch location.

With PLASTIC, a scratch on the surface of plastic is instantly recognisable. Unlike glass, microscopic splinters or shards do not flake away, instead the plastic surface is changed and the plastic material is physically moved. A way to describe it, is if you move your finger through a tray of sand - it moves the sand and creates a raised ridge. The same thing happens to plastic and it can have a more visible effect that that of glass.