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Are you looking for a versatile material that can offer durability, flexibility, and clarity in one package? Clear acrylic plastic, known by its trade name "plexiglass," may be the answer! Acrylic material is a rigid and transparent plastic made by synthesizing methyl methacrylate. It was produced in 1928 but was only made available to the market after five years by Rohm and Haas Company.

To this day, Acrylic or PMMA is considered one of the clearest plastics manufacturers prefer using through thermoform or injection mold methods to achieve a predetermined shape. Due to its versatility, numerous industries rely on this material to accomplish their desired product or result for multiple applications.

Some Characteristics of Acrylic Material

Modern commercial products made from acrylic material are typically available in various colors; translucent or not. Its true form is clear acrylic, which internally transmits 92% of white light. Its extreme clarity made it an excellent glass substitute.

Other characteristics of acrylic:

  • Impact resistance: Plexiglass or acrylic blanks have relatively high impact resistance, at least 17 times greater than glass. Therefore, it doesn't break easily.
  • Low degradation: Since acrylic is a thermoplastic, it becomes liquid as it reaches its melting point. Once it liquefies, the acrylic material is thermoformed or injection molded into a die to create a product without degrading its properties.
  • Resistant to some chemicals: Inorganic bases and acids can't easily dissolve an acrylic material. Unfortunately, it's not as resistant to organic substances, such as petroleum products.

The aforementioned properties and features of acrylic are highly beneficial in numerous demanding sectors. Some of these may include aerospace, food, medical, automotive, and construction, to name a few. This material is a solution that drives success to their unique projects, no matter how complex or straightforward.

Where is Acrylic Plastic Used, and Why is it Beneficial?

Acrylic is a valuable and cost-effective material primarily chosen due to its outstanding optical translucence, lightweight, and strength. For instance, an acrylic mirror is lighter than glass, so it's a better option for situations where weight is a huge factor.

Other uses of clear acrylic plastics include:

  • Magnifying glasses and lenses: Nothing can compare to their transparency, and it's cheaper than glass, so it's a cost-effective option for these transmissive optical devices.
  • Security barriers: Acrylic panels are used as an alternative to glass barriers for security purposes. However, an acrylic bullet proof sheet has low UL ratings, typically 1 to 3 only. If protection against ballistics is paramount, another plastic should be used.
  • Signages: Acrylic blanks are often used to create signs, nameplates, displays, and plaques.
  • Windows: Apart from lenses, acrylic panels are also used to make windows, enclosures, skylights, or tanks.
  • Displays: Custom displays can be achieved using acrylic as it's inexpensive compared to polycarbonate and other plastics.

You can find acrylic products almost anywhere, as it's an ideal substitute due to its affordability. However, other factors must be considered apart from costs, such as using this material in applications where weight, price, and transparency are crucial and strength isn't a priority.

How is Acrylic Made?

Polymerization is the process used in making acrylic material. It combines the monomer (methyl methacrylate) and the catalyst (organic peroxide) by pouring the substance into a mold. After that, it's sealed and heated to the right temperature.

The chemical reaction of methyl methacrylate and organic peroxide forms the product acrylic plastic polymer. After that, it becomes the acrylic material. Remember that curing times depend on how thin or thick the acrylic sheet, panel, or blank will be. For instance, thin sheets only require ten to 12 hours. On the other hand, thicker ones need a few days to fully dry.

Only Use High-Quality Acrylic Plastics for the Best Results

If you need clear acrylic plastics in your projects, make sure you get them from reputable sources. Fortunately, Emco Industrial Plastics is one of them. Using our multiple production methods and capabilities, we fabricate and machine plastic components for various industries and applications. 

If you want to know more about our different acrylic products, don't hesitate to contact us today. You may also request a quote, and one of our experts will reach out to develop a cost-effective solution tailored to your needs!

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