If your business or industry has any use for plastic materials, there’s a good chance you’ve used or at least heard of plexiglass. However, there may be even more uses or qualities for this versatile material than you have previously considered. Having a full understanding of the substance and its attributes and applications can help you make more informed decisions when it comes to purchasing plastics for your various operational needs.
Whether you already use plexiglass or are just considering various plastics for your company’s needs, here’s a rundown of the attributes and applications of this popular material.
What Is Plexiglass?
Plexiglass is really just a commonly used name for acrylic plastic. The scientific name is polymethyl methacrylate. The name actually comes from the trade name Plexiglas. But it has evolved and become an unofficial moniker outside of the brand as well. It is also sold under the names Optix, Acrylite, Lucite, and many others.
Basically, it is a transparent thermoplastic that can be sold in many forms. But it is most often found in sheets, where it can generally be used as an alternative to glass in various applications. However, it can also be found in a translucent form, where it offers some light transmission without full optical clarity. And some sheets can also be offered with opaque colors or patterns.
Attributes of Plexiglass
Plexiglass actually comes in a wide array of forms. But it is most commonly found in a clear, colorless sheet. In this form, plexiglass offers crystal visual clarity. In fact, sheets have a transparency that is equal to that of optical glass. This makes it perfect for areas where parties need to be able to clearly see from one side of a barrier to the other, or for any instance where optimal light transmission is important.
The material is also incredibly lightweight. It is much lighter and easier to work with than actual glass. And it also weighs less than many other plastic materials as well. This makes it easy to transport, work with, and install. So it’s perfect for those who are attempting to set up plastic sheets on their own or for barriers or sheets that may need to be moved at some point.
Plexiglass is also known for its durability. It offers outstanding weatherability, so it can hold up to a variety of conditions over time without showing significant sights of wear. It also offers high impact resistance; in fact, it is about ten times more impact resistant than glass. So if it is struck by a piece of flying debris, it is less likely to break or shatter. it also offers good chemical resistance, so it’s unlikely to break down or show signs of damage when exposed to cleaning products or other chemical applications.
Finally, acrylic is easy to form into specific shapes and sizes for various applications. It displays excellent thermoformability, which means it can be molded when exposed to high levels of heat. And it can even be heated and set multiple times without losing its qualities. It can also be easily machined using various techniques. So you can have it cut to size or attached to various frames or other plastic materials for use in a variety of settings.
Applications of Plexiglass
Because of all the qualities listed above, plexiglass can easily be used in a wide array of applications. Basically any area where a transparent, lightweight, and durable sheet may come in handy could utilize plexiglass or acrylic. However, here are some of the most common places where you might find it.
Because of its optical clarity, acrylic is commonly used as a replacement for glass in windows and skylights. It can also be used as sneeze guards or protective barriers in restaurants, retail stores, or office buildings. It still allows individuals on both sides of these barriers to communicate easily and complete transactions. But the barrier can help to prevent or slow the spread of germs and protect essential workers.
Plexiglass is also commonly used in displays for retail stores or trade shows. It allows shoppers or other individuals to easily see the valuable products you have to offer, but it protects them from theft or damage. And since the material is so lightweight, it’s easy to transport displays to various events or move items around in a store setting.
The material can also be used in signage and lighting covers. Since it has excellent weatherability, that makes it perfect for outdoor applications. And it is impact resistant and durable enough to hold up well over time while still displaying important messages clearly.
Finally, acrylic can be used in various industrial applications. Specifically, it can be used as safety guards and glazing. Since it’s transparent but also durable, it provides workers with clear visibility while also protecting them from heavy machinery or other materials that may otherwise be harmful.
If you’re looking for plexiglass sheets for any of these applications, Polymershapes can help. We have local distribution centers that are conveniently spread throughout the country to offer convenient and fast service. And those same facilities are outfitted with industry leading fabrication equipment to offer a wide range of customization options. This allows clients to enjoy the convenience and service of a local operation along with the quality and capabilities of a nationwide brand. In addition to acrylic sheets, we provide a wide array of quality plastic materials, including polycarbonate, ABS, corrugated twinwall, and HDPE. Contact your local Polymershapes branch today to start reaping all the benefits of plexiglass and acrylic sheets.