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Plexiglass, what is it?
Also known as acrylic, acrylic glass, or more scientifically, poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), plexiglass is a transparent petroleum-based thermoplastic typically manufactured in sheets. It is a strong, tough, and lightweight material, with a higher impact strength than glass. It is also useful for outdoor applications due to a higher environmental stability than most other plastics, such as polystyrene and polyethylene. These advantages, combined with other properties including high service life, effective light transmission, and simple processing, make plexiglass a highly useful invention. However, plexiglass products rarely use pure PMMA, instead modifying the material to optimize its properties even further. Such modifications include adding butyl acrylate to improve impact strength, adding methacrylic acid to allow for higher temperature uses, adding dyes to give color for decorative applications, and many more.
Plexiglass is a colloquial way to refer to clear acrylic sheets---making acrylic and plexiglass the same product. The origin of the term "plexiglass" comes from a brand of clear cast acrylic sheets called "Plexiglas," but today plexiglass and acrylic are often used interchangeably.
In most cases, the process of manufacturing acrylic plastics is the reason for the high cost of Plexiglass sheets. Making the synthetic material involves either the cell cast or the extrusion method. ... The closed process increases the cost of production and, inevitably, the price of Plexiglass sheets.
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