Acrylic is a transparent thermoplastic known as polyacrylate and is derived from natural-gas. It is a composition of Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) and Poly Methyl Methacrylate (PMMA) resin. In short, it’s a petroleum-based product, so petroleum solvents and chemicals should always be avoided to prevent marking the surface.
There are few differences between the physical properties of Cast Perspex Acrylic and Extruded Perspex Acrylic sheets. Both show excellent resistance to natural ageing. The main differences lie in their thermal and chemical properties and the way they are processed and used. The two materials are different in nature and respond differently to certain processes.
The Cast manufacturing process leads to slight variations in the thickness of sheets whereas the thickness of Extruded sheet varies very little, if at all. Cast has an isotropic response to temperature with a maximum shrinkage of 2% in all directions. However, the extrusion process applied to Extruded sheet leads to differences in shrinkage depending on the thickness and direction of extrusion.
Extruded acrylic sheet has reduced mechanical properties, however it does give process advantages when heating, bending and vacuum forming, and has a better thickness tolerance than cast acrylic sheet. Extruded sheets are ideal for general glazing applications and the much lower viscosity when hot, makes it more ductile than Cast Acrylic.
Cast Acrylic sheets offer greater thermal stability and better resistance to crazing when exposed to solvents. The thermoforming range for cast sheets is wider. They can be reworked hot, which is not always possible with extruded sheets. The surface finish, flatness and optical properties of Cast Acrylic are all superior to those of Extruded Acrylic sheets.
Acrylic care consists of no more than normal wipe-cleaning to keep it looking new. Chemicals should never be used, and care should be taken to avoid scratches. See our Product Care page for complete recommendations.
While acrylic softens at higher temperatures, it does not actually melt until it reaches 320 °F (160 °C). Therefore, normal household use does not risk melting acrylic. Hot stovetop items should only be placed on an acrylic tabletop surface using a protective trivet or other padding, preferably with rubber cushions. As a safety precaution, never place acrylic directly on or next to an open flame or hot surface.
It will soften if heated above 80 C. Considerable heat can be generated by machining, causing stress, so it is therefore very important that heat build-up is kept to a minimum.
Yes, you can paint acrylic using, obviously, acrylic paint.
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