Searching for a material which is both decorative and practical at the same time? Look no further than acrylic! More commonly known as perspex or plexiglass, which are high quality acrylic brands, this material is gaining so much popularity in this time and age. What is it generally used for? What characteristics make it so appealing? Here's an overview of its features and uses.
What is acrylic?
Acrylic is a thermoplastic which is generally used in sheet profiles, and which can be cut in any size, shape and thickness, according to the needs of your project and your likes. Acrylic can be produced in any colour, and you can choose from a variety of finishes and effects to create varying opacity degrees. The range of different surfaces you can choose from include gloss, matte, transparent, glitter, frosted, opaque, anti reflective, mirror, clear, coloured, tinted and fluorescent effects. Talk about a versatile material!
When choosing acrylic, you can opt for either cast acrylic or extruded acrylic. The plastic you choose depends on the type of project you're working on. If you intend to manipulate the sheet, cast acrylic should be used, while an extruded sheet is a better option if you don't need to carry out any work on it.
What are acrylic sheets used for?
The versatile and premium attributes of acrylic sheets enable it to be used in both domestic and commercial projects. Whether it's for internal or external use, acrylic can be used to create various structures and designs. From flooring to ceilings, facades, glazing and cladding, here are some common acrylic applications:
- Construction and architecture:
Acrylic sheets are used for domestic structures, including doors, windows, canopies, balustrades, balcony railings, patio roofing, kitchen splash-backs, shower screens and skylights. Due to its outstanding quality, it's also used in banks, sports stadiums, restaurants, aquariums, theatres, glasshouses, stage setups, bus shelters and other commercial spaces for varying purposes.
Interior designers are now integrating acrylic in furniture design, feature walls and shelving systems, due to its durability and aesthetic value.
Being highly resistant to impact, and having optimal clarity, acrylic is used in caravan and boat windows, motorbike windshields and car wind deflectors, and on the interior of plane windows.
Widely used in the retail sector, acrylic is used for a range of shop fittings, such as brochure and leaflet holders, display pedestals and display stands. Acrylic signage is popular on various commercial facades, since acrylic's distinct features will highlight your corporate brand and attract the attention of passers-by.
The way acrylic transmits and diffuses light, makes it possible for this material to be used in conjunction with lighting to create sensational and prominent LED signage and other illuminated structures and designs.
Due to its hygienic nature, acrylic sheets are also used to produce baby incubators, medical cabinets and other storage systems.
Characteristics of acrylic sheets
What makes acrylic so appealing over glass? What are its most renowned features?
- Weather resistant and impact resistant- it's durable in all types of environments
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Modern design
- Versatile: design can be tailor made in any size, shape and colour you need and like, and it can be transformed in any structure you want
- Easy to install and to work with
- Provides better thermal insulation than glass
- Hygienic: it's used in catering displays and medical storage systems
- UV resistant- used to protect museum artefacts from UV light
- Its smooth surface is ideal for printing and engraving
- Clearer than glass
- Cheaper to buy, repair and maintain
Services offered by acrylic sheet companies
Apart from selling acrylic sheets, companies may also offer to carry out any cutting, bending, printing, engraving, laser etching and polishing which you need, to create the bespoke design you have in mind. They may also take care of installation and any maintenance which may be required by time.
If you're a DIY enthusiast, you can attempt to cut or saw acrylic yourself. However, specialised equipment will be required if you need to print, engrave or bend an acrylic sheet.
How can you clean acrylic sheets?
Acrylic will need to be cleaned if you want it to retain its visual appeal. Cleaning it is easy- all you need is water, detergent and a microfibre chamois. Do make sure the materials you use are non-abrasive to refrain from scratching the acrylic. This will ensure you'll keep on enjoying your acrylic for many years to come.