Plexiglass sheets are one of the oldest synthetic plastic materials around. It has been able to stand the test of time due to its durability and versatility in a variety of applications. However, even those who are generally familiar with this clear plastic material may not fully understand what it is or what makes it so popular.
If you’re considering what materials to select for a building, transportation, or display related project, understanding all the qualities of plexiglass sheets may help you make an informed decision. Here’s an explanation of this material and its many uses and benefits.
What Are Plexiglass Sheets?
First of all, plexiglass is a popular name used to describe acrylic plastic. The term is actually a brand that has been popularized through the years. Acrylic is technically known as polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), a tough synthetic polymer.
More specifically, acrylic is a thermoplastic, which means it can easily be formed into a wide array of shapes when exposed to high levels of heat. This makes it suitable for use in a huge range of products across various industries. It’s generally clear, with plenty of visual clarity, but color and tint can also be added. It’s also lightweight and offers decent impact resistance.
What Are They Used For?
Plexiglass sheets are some of the most versatile synthetic materials around, so the applications are nearly endless. A few of the most popular include signage, displays, skylights, and countertop systems or sneeze guards.
When it comes to signage, acrylic is the perfect material because it’s so lightweight, durable, and easy to fabricate. Companies can have messages printed and use acrylic to display them, or even have the material custom cut or formed into specific shapes. It’s also well suited for both indoor and outdoor applications, so companies can use them inside their location or around the exterior.
Acrylic is also well suited for use in retail displays. It’s strong and rigid enough to form small shelves or to use as a case that holds valuable or rare items so that customers can easily see what’s available without having direct contact with the products. Since acrylic is so lightweight, some companies can even use the material for displays at trade shows or special events where they need to bring their own materials and get set up quickly.
Plexiglass sheets can also be used in place of glass for certain building features like skylights. It offers crystal clarity to let in tons of light. And it also provides plenty of impact resistance to hold up against debris and the exterior elements. Even if it is struck by things like tree branches or hail, it won’t shatter like traditional glass and create dangerous debris.
Finally, plexiglass sheets can easily be used as sneeze guards or protective countertop systems that separate customer service representatives or cashiers from customers and members of the public. This is effective both for slowing the spread of germs and for preventing and deterring theft or violent incidents from locations like banks, convenience stores, and utility payment centers.
What Are the Benefits of Plexiglass Sheets?
The benefits of plexiglass sheets include optical clarity, durability, and the ability to be easily fabricated and installed. The crystal clarity of acrylic makes it perfect for instances where you want to install a barrier but don’t want to interrupt the line of sight. For instance, employees at banks and taxi drivers need to be able to clearly see and interact with their customers, but an acrylic barrier still provides a layer of protection between those professionals and the public.
Because of that clarity, acrylic can take the place of glass in many applications. But it’s actually more durable than glass. It’s not as impact resistant as high-strength materials like polycarbonate. But it does provide a decent level of protection and added safety. It’s also very low maintenance, easy to clean, and tends to hold up well over long periods of time. It can even be polished and easily replaced if a scratch or visual imperfection does occur.
Finally, acrylic is incredibly lightweight and easy to form. Since it’s a thermoplastic, exposure to excessive heat allows it to easily be formed into specific shapes. It can also be cut, welded, polished, and fabricated using a variety of techniques. This allows users to get the exact size and shape they need for their specific applications. Once created, the material is easy to work with and install since it’s not heavy or bulky.
If you’re ready to reap the benefits of plexiglass sheets, Polymershapes can provide you with all the highest quality materials you need. We offer acrylic sheeting in a wide array of texture and color options, including those with exceptional optical clarity and light transmission, shatter-resistant sheets for security purposes, and mirrored sheets for displays or point of purchase systems. We work with trusted manufacturing partners to provide quality acrylic and a variety of other plastics, including polycarbonate, ABS, HDPE, nylon, and vinyl. We can also fabricate materials to meet custom sizes, shapes, and color requirements.
Additionally, our distribution centers are conveniently located across the United States, so you can easily access personalized service and receive quick quotes and shipments when you need quality plastic materials right away. And those local facilities are outfitted with industry leading equipment to ensure that all of our customers receive exceptional quality and customization options. If you’re ready to reap the benefits of plexiglass sheets or explore other quality plastic materials, contact your local Polymershapes branch today.