The Advantages and Disadvantages of Acrylic

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Acrylic is a translucent thermoplastic sometimes referred to as PMMA or Plexiglas. Although it can also be found in various forms, such as tubes and rods, sheets are the most typical form. It is frequently used as a lightweight, break-resistant glass substitute. But it can also be employed in a variety of applications due to its many appealing qualities.

From Home Depot to Rona, numerous retailers carry acrylic. Many people use acrylic for their unique DIY projects since it is affordable and rather simple to utilise. However, one could wonder what benefits and drawbacks there are to using acrylic in comparison to other materials, such as glass and other polymers. What are the benefits and drawbacks of this content?

Advantages

1.Clarity

The fact that acrylic is one of the clearest plastics on the market is among its many advantages. The average light transmission rate of acrylic resins is 92%. Acrylic is transparent and doesn’t stain, in contrast to glass, which might develop a subtle green tint with greater thickness. Due of this characteristic, acrylic resin is widely used for displays, including window replacements and display cabinets. Thick acrylic pieces are preferred for designer products because of their crystalline appearance. For instance, the Magino series by Karim Rashid.

2.UV Security

Some individuals might be surprised to find that acrylic is extremely resistant to UV rays given the prevalence of acrylic products in homes. When used outside, clear acrylic has been shown to survive up to 30 years without turning yellow. Styrene, PETG, and polycarbonate are some additional transparent plastics that are significantly more weather-resistant than acrylic.

3.Ease of Machining

The ease of working with acrylic is a significant factor in its popularity with consumers. Acrylic may be cut, sculpted, and put together into a variety of final goods using common home tools.

When cut with a laser, polycarbonate burns and goes yellow, while butter acrylic cuts and edges remain flawlessly clear, just like the rest of the material. What if your home is without a laser cutter? Simply cut the acrylic sheet with a plastic cutter, such as this one from Home Depot, and then remove the piece.

Acrylic is incredibly simple to form with basic tools and has a relatively low melting point. The term “thermoforming” simply refers to the process of using heat to soften plastic and shape it into a desired shape. Similar to chocolate, acrylic softens and becomes flexible when heated. Hot pressed acrylic is demonstrated in videos on YouTube, such as this one by the great fititsamo.

4.Inexpensive

There are cheaper plastics available, but acrylic is relatively inexpensive compared to other common transparent materials such as polycarbonate and glass. For example, polycarbonate is on average two to three times more expensive than acrylic. Combine this with the ease of working with acrylic.

Disadvantages

1.Poor Scratch Resistance

Acrylic’s main weakness is its poor scratch resistance. Therefore, it is important to handle the finished acrylic part carefully to avoid unwanted markings on the clear plastic. In most cases, the acrylic material you buy comes with a protective film to prevent scratches. For applications like public buildings that require additional durability, scratch-resistant acrylics are available on the market. However, as you can imagine, it’s a bit more expensive than regular acrylic material.

If you accidentally scratch the acrylic, you can quickly remove the scratches with some plastic polish.

2.Poor Heat Resistance

As mentioned in the benefits section, acrylic has a relatively low melting point, 160 degrees Celsius to be exact. Summer temperatures never get hotter than today, so it’s natural enough for normal daily use, but the melting point may be too low for technical use.

3.Low Impact Resistance

Acrylic is much more impact resistant than average glass, but acrylic has zero impact resistance when compared to other plastics. Abnormal. In the Izod impact test, where a metal arm is dropped onto a sample of material, acrylic can withstand a force of 0.4 feet, and ABS (the plastic that makes up Lego pieces) can withstand a force of 0.4 feet. ra) can withstand 7.7 feet, and polycarbonate, known for its incredible impact resistance, can withstand forces from 12.0 to 16.0 feet.

Depending on thickness, acrylic can withstand normal daily use well, but in extreme situations where durability is a priority, materials such as polycarbonate and polysulfone may be suitable.

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