The terms acrylic and plexiglass are often used interchangeably. Although these two materials look similar, there are some differences between them.
What is Acrylic?
Acrylic is a material made of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), which is a kind of plastic. It is often used in sheet form as an alternative to glass.
Although acrylic sheets can be more expensive than glass, it is still preferred by organizations and professionals because it is stronger and more shatter resistant. This material is also mostly invulnerable to erosion and the elements.
What is Acrylic Sheet Used for?
Acrylic sheets have many uses due to their pliable nature. This material can look brand new for longer because of its scratch-resistant properties and its durability. Here are some of the most common uses of acrylics:
When you walk around the mall or the streets, you’ll see eye-catching business signages in the streets. Companies will usually employ acrylic signage to advertise their business because of its durability and visual impact.
Acrylics can be used for exterior applications because of their weather-resistant properties. Some businesses also make use of acrylic signages with light to make their sign stand out from the crowd.
Indeed, these signs are a favorite for business owners because acrylic sheets are customizable and durable.
When the pandemic first started, acrylic barriers were implemented to prevent the spread of COVID. Now that health protocols have relaxed, acrylic shields are still being used because of the comfort and safety it provides for businesses across the country.
A good example would be in banks, previously bank tellers would have no barrier between them and the customer. Now, having an acrylic shield in the workplace adds a boundary between clients and staff without being too imposing. Nor does it hinder the personalized service that each team member can give to customers.
What is Plexiglass?
The word plexiglass came from the brand Plexiglas®. The relationship of these terms is similar to that of tissue and Kleenex, as well as photocopy and Xerox. Simply speaking, plexiglass came from a brand name that has become the term used to refer to a specific product or service.
Plexiglass is a lightweight plastic material that’s often used as a substitute for glass. This type of material can be easily molded according to your requirements. It can also protect your team from harmful UV rays because some types of plexiglasses can block out UV light.
What is Plexiglass Used for?
Because plexiglass as a material is so easy to mold, it’s often used for a variety of tasks. Plexiglass and acrylics are usually interchanged because of their similarities.
Here are some of the ways businesses use plexiglass for their operations:
Just like acrylic sheets, plexiglass can also be used as a divider.
Plexiglass is commonly used as the clear protective barrier for sneezeguards. This helps keep food products fresh for consumption and safe from germs. It also keeps cold environments cool to prevent food from getting into the temperature danger zone.
Some shops use plexiglass instead of glass for their displays because it’s less likely to break, making it a safer option for stores. It can also be customized according to your company’s branding and aesthetic requirements, making it an excellent option for companies looking to enhance their store’s visual impact.
Difference Between Acrylic and Plexiglas®
Acrylic and Plexiglas® are mostly similar. The biggest difference between these materials is their manufacturing process. Generic acrylic can be manufactured using the extrusion or cell casting process.
Extruded acrylic is produced by heating liquid polymer and extruding it through a series of rollers. These rollers provide the acrylic sheet with texture and gauge until fully formed.
Cast acrylic, on the other hand, is manufactured by pumping liquid monomers into a glass mold. It is then dipped in warm water to start the process of polymerization.
While acrylic sheets can be manufactured using any of the two processes listed above, Plexiglas® can only be manufactured using cell casting. This process allows the product to have a wider range of thickness, be more lightweight and rigid, and have a greater resistance to sunlight and weathering.
History of Acrylic and Plexiglas®
In the early 1900s, Otto Röhm was trying to increase the resistance of glass. As he was creating a lamination between glass plates, he accidentally created acrylic, which is the same material we are using nowadays.
A variety of products were manufactured after the creation of acrylic, one of which was trademarked Plexiglas® in 1933. As the brand became more popular, the term Plexiglas® has evolved into plexiglass and has become synonymous with the word acrylic. This is why acrylic and plexiglass are often interchanged.
As the need for acrylic or plexiglass evolved, more products using this material have emerged. Nowadays, to address the need for social distancing in offices, restaurants, and other establishments, acrylic shield guards have been used more often. These products are utilized to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep employees and customers safe at all times.
Obtain High-Quality Acrylic Products Today
Whether acrylic, plexiglass, or Plexiglas®, this material is an effective alternative to glass that can also help you implement social distancing in different areas. For durable acrylic products, turn to none other than Limkaco Industries.
We offer protective acrylic shields in varying sizes and thicknesses. You can also count on us to help you install your new acrylic shield anywhere you need it. Contact us today for more information.