What is the difference between acrylic and plexiglass?

Acrylic sheet plastics cut to size | What is the difference between acrylic and plexiglass?

What is the difference between acrylic and plexiglass?

Usually Acrylic and Plexiglass are often mistaken as the same product, as they are both sheet plastic. Plexiglass is basically a trade or brand name for the acrylic and are made from acrylic, but there are many major differences on how the Acrylic is manufactured.

There are two processes in which acrylic are manufactured

  • Extruded/Extrusion Method
  • Cell cast

Extrusion method costs less to manufacture acrylic, but it poses two problems. One is that it tends to be much softer than cell cast acrylic, which leads it to be more prone to scratching. Secondly extruded acrylic can have impurities in its surface. Although it can look that it’s a deal breaker but this type of Acrylic can be fitting for areas where there is very less point of contact from such incidents which leads to scratching. As lower cost does save up a lot of expenses when dealing with higher volumes.

Cell cast acrylic on the other hand are more durable, and its surface is much harder because of the casting process. The process of cell casting is such that it is formed in a closed area. This reduces the chance for addition of impurities becoming lodged in the material. So, it looks clearer when the end product is made. Plexiglass is also a cell cast acrylic. Acrylic is “softer” than “plexiglass” but more forgiving under stress. It can withstand higher pressure before it breaks.

Knowing your product:

The most common problem about acrylic and plexiglass are the many names used in the plastic industry. Acrylic is the main name that indicates the type of polymer used in its manufacturing. Plexiglas is basically just a trade or brand name, it’s called plexiglass. So, if you were to go to a store and ask for acrylic, you will get what the store would have in the stock with them. As the “Acrylic” is the main product name for this, its better to ask for either “extruded acrylic” or “cell cast acrylic”. By knowing the different types of Acrylic and knowing the difference between them ensures you will get the right product.

Life Span of Acrylic products:

The lifespan of acrylic based plastic ranges from 7 to 10 years at most. This is usually the limited warranty that is given with acrylic products sold in the market, but this limited warranty only covers the fading and discoloration. Keep in mind that this does not mean this material will last the full 10 years life span, as there are factors involved which can hasten the fading and discoloration. Like for example if you live in an area with higher salt content in the air (humid or area near a beach), the acrylic material may start to show signs of decay sooner. This is true for contact with alcohol or ammonia with acrylic sheets, which can also show signs of fading and discoloration sooner. So, to put it in simple terms the harder the surface the more life you may get out of your acrylic product.

If you like to know what is acrylic sheet specifically check out this blog.  What are acrylic sheet?

Difference between acrylic and plexiglass

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Acrylic sheet plastics cut to size