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What is Acrylic and How is it Made?

A lot of people use and see acrylic products on a daily basis, but not many people know what acrylic is or how it is made. Cutting acrylic with lasers helps to make products such as protractors, tubes, clothing, and various office products. The way in which acrylic is made is actually pretty fascinating. Acrylic is also referred to as polymethacrylate (PMMA) and acrylic glass. The product is made from acrylic acids and/or related compounds. The thermoplastic is made from natural gas. The product is a mixture of Methly Methaceylate and Poly Methyl Methacrylate resin. This means that in essence acrylic is petroleum based.

This product is extremely durable for something so similar to glass. Imagine if a hockey rink had glass boards that were actually made of glass. They would constantly shatter when pucks hit them, so instead the glass is actually an acrylic glass. The same applies for most modern aquariums. The result of a crack in glass at an aquarium could be tragic. Acrylic glass is stronger than glass, and it is clearer than glass when cut in thick pieces.

There are two ways of making this product, and they are cast acrylic and extruded acrylic. The two are named after the process in which they are made. Extruded acrylic is made with rollers making sheets of plastic; where as pouring liquid plastic into a mold makes cast acrylic. Extruded acrylic is cheaper to make, but that does not come without its drawbacks.

The end product is thinner, and so it is not as strong and is more flexible than cast acrylic. The final product is also more prone to scratches. Casted products can be made thicker. This is the type of acrylic glass you would find at an aquarium. Final products are made by cutting acrylic with a laser. Cutting acrylic with a laser is a method of shaping acrylic that is quick and precise.

Have you ever asked, "What is the different between acrylic glass, plexiglas, and Lexan?" Acrylic has many different trade names, and one of those names is Plexiglas. The list of other names goes on, and most are uncommon to most people (such as, Per-Clax and Optix). There is, however, a difference between Lexan and the above. The difference is the shatter resistances of the product, which is achieved by using a polycarbonate to make.

When cleaning acrylic, despite the size or thickness, you should simply do normal wiping. Use a light soap and water mixture over chemicals because chemicals can do damage to your acrylic over time.


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