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This paper investigates the performance of practical physical layer network coding (PLNC) schemes for two-way relay channels. We consider a network consisting of two source nodes and a single relay node, which is used to aid communication between the two source nodes. For this scenario, we investigate various transmission schemes, where transmission takes place over two, three or four time slots. We show that the two time slot PLNC scheme offers a higher maximum sum-rate, but a lower sum-bit error rate (BER) than the four time slot transmission scheme for a number of practical scenarios. We also investigate a three time slot PLNC scheme, which we show offers a good compromise between the two time slot PLNC and four time slot transmission schemes, and also achieves the best maximum sum-rate and/or sum-BER in certain practical scenarios. To facilitate comparison, we derive new closed-form expressions for the outage probability, maximum sum-rate and sum-BER.