Published: 26th September 2018
Acrylic sheets are a comparable alternative to mineral glass. Both acrylic and glass have distinct benefits and often it can be difficult to know where one is more beneficial than the other. Acrylic is the frequently used name for Polymethyl Methacrylate, or PMMA, which is produced by many manufacturers on a global scale. Perspex is actually just a brand name for acrylic sheets, despite the name commonly being used in place of acrylic. For many applications, acrylic is the preferable choice – here are some of the benefits of opting for plastic over the traditional glass.
The lightweight quality of acrylic is one of the reasons why it’s such a popular alternative to glass in a range of applications, such as glazing and roofing. Glass is much denser and therefore heavier than acrylic, which weighs less than half that of glass. The fact that acrylic is so much lighter makes it ideal for DIY projects, as it’s easier to work with and manoeuvre.
In terms of insulation, acrylic is far more efficient. Acrylic is 20 percent more effective than glass in reducing temperature flux, which means that cool or warm air from outside penetrates less easily than it does through standard glass. This helps to regulate temperature and reduces heating bills.
Acrylic is far tougher than glass and is more resistant to impact as a result – up to 20 times more resistant. In fact, it’s often used as a replacement for glass in applications where safety and security is an issue. This is due to the fact it doesn’t shatter when it breaks and will break into large pieces with relatively blunt edges instead. When installed in large sheets, acrylic is more tolerant to pressure and is more likely to flex than break, so it’s a far safer material to work with.
Acrylic offers the same clarity as optical glass, but it lets more light through while still filtering out ultraviolet light. Acrylic has a slightly better light transmittance level, at 92% compared to glass’ 90%. Panes of glass glazing can start to look cloudy or milky when it reaches a certain thickness which restricts light and offers less transparency. Whereas, acrylic doesn’t develop this quality when thicker sheets are used.
Because it’s tougher than glass, it stands to reason that acrylic will be more robust and durable in most applications as well. Glass is incredibly fragile, even when purchased in thicker panes, as well as being dangerous when it breaks. Acrylic is also weather resistant, offering up to 20 years of use without damage or deterioration in all weather conditions – a great quality to have when using acrylic sheets for glazing or outdoor projects.
Acrylic is typically a more cost-effective option over glass, as it’s lighter and costs less to transport. When coupled with the advantages that acrylic has over glass, it’s easy to see why so many people are opting to use plastics instead of glass.