If you've been in the industry for any amount of time, or even if you haven't, you're probably familiar with the term, "plastic sheeting." What you may not be aware of however, is the broad range of products that plastic sheeting contains. Let's begin with Acrylic Sheet.
The term "acrylic" is probably very familiar to you. You may relate it back to acrylic tapes, or acrylic paints. Not surprisingly, acrylic sheet carries very similar characteristics to those products.
So let's get started. What exactly is acrylic sheet?
Technically speaking, acrylic is a versatile thermoplastic often used as an alternative to glass. In other words, acrylic sheets are a strong, lightweight, glass-like plastic product. With that being said, if you're wondering if acrylic sheets are similar to "plexiglass," you're correct. Acrylic sheets are commonly referred to as plexiglass sheets, frosted plexiglass sheets, clear plexiglass sheets, acrylic plastic sheets, cast acrylic sheets, or even polycarbonate sheets.
So lets break down those attributes even further. We know that acrylic sheets are plastic glass-like products. But what, beyond that, is characteristic of this product? Acrylic sheet is 17 times stronger than glass. 17 times stronger. That's pretty impressive. It's lightweight. It will hold up against the elements and UV rays, and has excellent optical clarity. Sounds like a win, win product alternative already, doesn't it. But it does get better. Acrylic sheets are also 100% recyclable and suitable for food contact - which is great if you're looking for ways to incorporate green packaging into your initiatives.
Let's talk manufacturing. How malleable is acrylic sheet?
Acrylic sheeting, dating back to the 1930's, has become one of the most broadly usedproducts across the industrial front. Acrylics have peerless versatility. Acrylic sheet can be sawed, routed, drilled, formed, line bent, cemented and painted. It also has low water absorption, good electrical resistivity, and fair tensile strength.
All in all, there aren't a lot of unfavorables to be shared about this product. In fact, the applications acrylic sheet can be used in are endless. Just a few acrylic sheet applications include:
- Glass substitute: aquariums, automobile light lenses, hockey rank guards, riot protection, bullet-resistant glass
- Retail: POP displays,signage, framing
- Medical: intraocular lenses, dentures, dental fillings, liquid rerouting
- Aesthetic: furniture, layered painting, photo framing, architectural installations
- Light Redirection: greenhouses, decorative light installations, light shelves
There are two basic types of acrylic sheets: Cast Acrylic and Extruded Acrylic.
- Cast acrylic sheet offers enhanced chemical resistance
- Cast acrylic tends to have a greater variance on thickness, as much as +/- 30% on thickness
- Acrylic sheeting offers greater thermal stability, and iseasy to use infabrication.
- Acrylic sheets can be tinted, colored, mirrored or made opaque.
- When used in laser cutting applications, extruded sheet will have rougher edges.
- Extruded acrylic sheet has reduced mechanical properties
- Extruded sheets are ideal for general glazing applications
So let's recap a bit on acrylic sheet and highlight some of the main details.
- Acrylic sheetingis durable - with 10 times the impact resistance of glass.
- Acrylic sheet is strong - with 17 times more strength than glass.
- It is weatherable - it will not yellow overtime.
- Cast acrylic is lightweight - with a density of less than half that of glass.
- Acrylic plastic is environmentally friendly.
- With a little heat, acrylic sheet is easy to shape and mold.
- Acrylic cast sheet can be customized, andenhancers such as anti-scratch, anti-fog, and anti-glare can be added.
Would you like to receive more information on this product? Give us a call. We love to talk packaging, and we are here to help you make the best possible informed decision about your products.