PMMA, also known as acrylic, is a transparent thermoplastic. One of the most widely used plastics in the world, PMMA demonstrates good chemical stability, mechanical properties and weather resistance. The material is also easy to process and to dye.
Because of its transparency, PMMA is often used as an alternative to glass and is popular in the interior design, construction and chemical industries. It is also regularly used in advertising to fabricate signage, lightboxes and billboards.
Bead blasting results in parts with a smooth surface with a matte texture. Used mainly for visual applications and can be followed by other surface treatments.
Painting the surface of a part improves its aesthetic appearance and can provide brand recognition to consumers. In addition, painting can have a protective effect on parts.
Polishing is the process of creating a smooth and shiny surface, either through physical rubbing of the part or by chemical interference. The process produces a surface with significant specular reflection, but in some materials is able to reduce diffuse reflection.
Engineer's Pro Tips
- PMMA has the highest transparency of any plastic. Though its strength is not as high as other thermoplastics on the market, it is over ten times stronger than ordinary glass, making it a popular alternative to glass.
- It should be noted that the material does have low impact resistance, meaning it cracks easily. It is also susceptible to scratching and visible wear and has low heat resistance (up to only 80 °C). It does, however, have good weather resistance, and is unlikely to change color or transparency in extreme climates.