Acrylic, also known by certain brand names such as Plexiglass, Perspex, Lucite and Acrylite, is known throughout the world of plastics for its remarkable scratch and impact resistance as well as its glossiness. As it is one of the toughest materials out there today, it is ideal for use as an impact-resistant alternative to glass–particularly when the high-impact strength of polycarbonate is not required, as both materials are quite similar. However, if high-impact strength is required, polycarbonate would be the better choice.
It is considered one of the clearest plastics on the market, and in general is used for a variety of applications that typically take advantage of its natural transparency as well as the impact resistance of certain variants. Acrylic is readily available and inexpensive, making it a great alternative to polycarbonate if material strength is not a decision factor. It is also half the weight of glass and has the added benefit of its impact resistance being 17 times more than ordinary glass. In the unlikely event that Acrylic plastic does break, it will only fracture into dull-edged pieces instead of sharp, dangerous shards.
Due to its incredible durability, Acrylic can be used over a broad temperature range and has superior weather resistance compared to glass and other forms of plastic. Not only is Acrylic a lighter alternative to glass, it is also an economic substitute for polycarbonate. It can also be cut into extremely fine shapes using laser cutting technology as the material vaporizes upon impact with the concentrated laser energy. This also makes it perfect for precision machining.
Although Acrylic can be recycled, it requires specialist handling and equipment. As many recycling companies do not have the facilities or expertise to recycle Acrylic, it is one of the least recycled types of plastic, which means it is having a devastating impact on our environment.
Acrylic is commonly used within cafes, restaurants, and bakeries for food display. Due to its transparency, it allows customers to see what is on offer whilst also providing a safe environment to keep the food covered in a way that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Whether you are looking for strength, longevity or clarity, Acrylic plastic offers many advantages over other materials and is extremely versatile, making it the material of choice for a variety of applications.
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