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The Technical Properties Of Acrylic Sheet: A Comprehensive Guide

Acrylic Sheet Properties

With excellent optical clarity and impact resistance, acrylic sheet is a diverse material that is used in a wide range of applications. It is often called “Plexiglass,” but this is a trademarked name for one particular brand of acrylic sheet. This versatile, durable plastic was first developed in 1928, and five years later, it came to market. Here is a closer look at its benefits, uses, and technical properties.

The Technical Specifications

The following data may vary depending on the type of acrylic materials being ordered. Piedmont can supply customized materials to meet your exact specifications. 

Before delving into the specific properties that make acrylic sheet so popular, take a look at its technical specifications:

  • Relative Density: 1.19 g/cm3
  • Rockwell Hardness: M 102
  • Water Absorption: -.2%
  • Flammability: Class 3
  • Tensile Strength: 75 MPa
  • Flexural Strength: 115 MPa
  • Thermal Properties: -40⁰C to 80⁰C 
  • Light Transmission: >92%
  • Refractive Index: 1.49

Clarity and Transparency

One of the reasons acrylic sheet works well for many applications is due to its transparency. Light transmits well through this material, making it ideal for everything from eyeglasses to windows. The transparency and optical clarity is close to that of glass, letting 92% of white light through.

Temperature Resistance

Acrylic tends to resist damage due to changing temperatures. This means it won’t warp or break when the temperatures move from cold to hot and back again. For this reason, many medical or food and beverage testing devices, which have to withstand large premature changes, are made from acrylic.

Impact Resistance

Acrylic sheet is often used to make bulletproof “glass” products. Depending on its thickness and how it is manufactured, it can have 17 times the amount of impact resistance of ordinary glass. It resists breakage through both shock and impact. It also weighs less than glass, making it perfect for applications where a strong and lightweight material is necessary, such as in aircraft or in engineering buildings.

Chemical Resistance

Finally, acrylic sheet is resistant to damage from many caustic chemicals. For this reason, it can be used for applications that transport fluids, such as medical manifolds and microfluidics, because it will not suffer damage from ongoing exposure to these chemicals. This also makes it easier to sanitize in food service and medical applications.

Types of Acrylic Sheet

Acrylic sheet comes in a few different styles to fit your particular application. Here are some common types.

  • Clear Acrylic Sheeting – Clear acrylic comes in an astonishing range of thicknesses, but all are transparent, letting ample light through. This is commonly used as a replacement for glass.
  • White Acrylic Sheeting – White offers the same strength and stability of clear acrylic but with an opaque material. If you’re looking for a durable, impact-resistant plastic, but don’t need it to be transparent, this material may fit your needs well.
  • Colored Acrylic Sheeting – Acrylic can come in a wide range of hues o make durable, but aesthetically striking projects. Fluorescent acrylic sheet is a type of colored sheet that is transparent but has glowing corners when light shines through it.
  • Mirrored Acrylic Sheeting – This sheeting is reflective in nature and works well in high-stress environments.
  • Light Diffusing Acrylic – This material diffuses light evenly, making it a good choice for lighted signs.
  • Solar Tinted Acrylic – Solar tinted acrylic adds a layer of protection against damage from UV rays. It can help lower energy costs when used as windows, and it can protect delicate items when used in a display case.
  • Non-Glare Acrylic Sheeting – This works well for display cases as it is transparent but doesn’t create a lot of glare. This matte finish provides excellent viewing of items inside a case or through a window without glare from the sun or overhead lights.
  • Anti-Static Acrylic Sheeting – In applications where electrical static is common, this type of acrylic sheeting is specially coated to prevent the formation of electrical sparks.
  • Abrasion Resistant Acrylic Sheeting – This acrylic sheeting features a doable coating that protects against scuffing and scratching beyond the abrasion resistance of the regular plastic sheet.
  • Impact Modified Acrylic Sheeting – When basic acrylic isn’t impact resistant enough for high-impact applications, this modified acrylic is a great choice. It has an impact resistance close to that of polycarbonate but the clarity and transparency of acrylic.
  • Lucite Block Acrylic Sheeting – This specialty acrylic sheeting allows the LED lighting to be embedded in the material to allow the light to transmit evenly. It works well for custom lighting designs.
  • Textured Acrylic sheeting – This final type of acrylic has a textured surface that increases friction for applications where this is important.

Acrylic’s strength and transparency make it a versatile option for a number of applications. Reach out to the team at Piedmont Plastics for help choosing the right acrylic sheet for your needs.