Why Acrylic ?
Acrylics are synthetic plastic materials which contain at least one derivative of acrylic acid. The most common acrylic plastic is polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) which is a tough yet highly transparent material. The basic monomer that polymethyl methacrylate and other acrylic plastics are formed is methyl methacrylate. It is highly resistant to ultraviolet radiation and weathering and is very durable. They are easily formed and can be manufactured in sheets, rods and tubes or they can be injected or compression molded as powder, cast, or sheets. Acrylic plastics are some of the oldest plastic materials still in use today. As a result of the high durability of acrylics, there are many applications for its use, few major applications are mentioned below:
Applications of Acrylic
Properties of Acrylic
There are two basic types of acrylic: extruded and cell cast. Extruded or "continuous cast" acrylic is made by a less expensive process whereas Cell cast acrylic is of a higher quality. Acrylic is half the weight of glass, impact resistant, unaffected by sun or salt spray, temperature range of -30 to 160° F for continuous service, insulates better than glass. It can also be sawed, whereas glass must be scored. Transparency rate of 93% makes acrylic the clearest material known. Very thick glass will have a green tint, while acrylic remains clear. Acrylic will not discolor or fade when exposed to light. It has excellent ultraviolet and white light transmission with good resistance to oxidizing agents and water. They are also fairly strong and flexible with a tensile strength of 8,000 pounds per sq. inch and compressive and flexure strength of about 15,000 pounds per square inch. Common brands of extruded & cell cast grade acrylic include Perspex, Shinkolite (Mitsubishi), Polycast, Lucite, CYRO, Plexiglass and many other popular brands.
There are some misconceptions about acrylic, namely that it yellows, turns brittle and cracks over time. Though this might be true of cheap forms of plastic or recycled 'B' Grade acrylic made locally from the scrap, it is not so with higher grade of acrylic made with virgin material. If taken care of, acrylic remains new looking regardless of age or exposure to sun. Some people complain that acrylic scratches too easily, but unlike glass, scratches can be easily buffed out of acrylic. Cell Cast grade is the best form of acrylic for majority of applications and do not get scratches easily. For all of its advantages, there are two disadvantages of acrylic: it is expensive than glass, and if exposed to a direct flame it will melt and eventually burn . However, they still have the advantages of optical clarity and resistance to the outdoor environment that make them the choice for many applications.
Acrylic - A Preferred Choice of Industry, Sign Makers, Interior Decorators & Architechts
Plastic Fabricators use PMMA (Acrylic) & PC (Polycorbonate) in sheet form, rods or tubes in varying thickness ranging from 0.50 mm up to 32 mm. They are cut in different shapes, styles & designs with the help of special cutting tools & hi-speed cutting machines. Products are made either using the thermoforming process or fabricated by cut-n-paste method and in many cases both are combined to create a product. Special hi-strength adhesives, fasteners and nut-bolts are used to weld two parts of plastic sheets/pieces to hold together. Foam board (PVC foamboard) is also widely used in sheet form for varied applications in combination with Acrylic and other plastics.
Individuals, organizations and industries that require custom-made advertizing & promotional items, display systems or corporate gifts in low quantity generally go for products that are made from acrylic, PVC foam board or combination of both. Corporate gifts like a pen stand, scribble pad (dispenser), visiting card dispenser, diary holder, paper weights with company's logo printed can be made without spending huge amount in making a die. Other examples of acrylic are display systems that are used in exhibitions to display variety of products and information like brochure dispensers, leaflet display stands, tent-cards, price tags, name plates, product display shelves, etc.
Industries also uses a lot of acrylic and PC sheets as machine guards or protective coverings for their machines and equipments. Acrylic & PC is widely used in control panels. Acrylic Stationery, like transparent folders in varied shapes, sizes and designs are used for displaying technical drawings, instructions and other information. Indoor & outdoor signs, warning signs etc are general examples that can be made in Acrylic, PVC foamboard and PC plastics.
Acrylic, PC and Foam sheets are in great demand by advertizing agencies, graphic designers, sign makers, interior designers and architects. The average annual growth rate of acrylics plastics has been around 10 per cent and the future forecast is that the gains will continue, at approximately 5 per cent annually.