Acrylic sheets cut to size
A wide range of acrylic sheets
Plasticsheetsshop stocks a wide range of acrylic sheets, comparable to products from the Plexiglas® or Perspex® trade names. We offer a variety of finishes such as clear, mirrored, opal (28% transparency), tinted and fluorescent sheets. Our range also includes a selection of coloured and frosted acrylic sheets. What makes the frosted sheets stand out is that one side has a matt, textured surface. This makes them popular for decorative applications and interior design. Our acrylic sheets are available in a thickness ranging from 2 to 30 millimetres. To suit the need of each specific project most acrylic sheets, including the mirrored, fluorescent and frosted sheets, come in a choice of colours. Any acrylic sheet can be cut to size free of charge and will be ready for delivery within 48 hours. Find more information on the properties and applications of acrylic sheets and how to work with them at the bottom of this page.
Acrylic: a historical plastic since 1877
Acrylic plastic is not only one of the best-known plastics, it’s also one of the oldest. Acrylic has been around for almost a hundred years, and it’s known and implemented worldwide. The scientific name for the material is Polymethyl Acrylate (PMMA). More commonly used names are Acrylic Plastic, Acrylate, Acrylic, or trade names such as Plexiglas® and Perspex®. The popularity of acrylic stems from its handy material properties: it’s crystal clear with 92% transparency, and it’s 30 times more impact resistant than regular glass. In addition, acrylic weighs less and is cheaper than ordinary glass. These practical characteristics aren’t the only thing that helped acrylic gain such popularity: the sheets are also easy to handle and to work with. Even for a first time do-it-yourselfer. Suited for all sorts of projects we offer a broad range of acrylic sheets: crystal clear, coloured, opal, frosted, fluorescent and mirrored. To make it as easy as possible: all acrylic sheets can be cut to any specific size free of charge.
Types of acrylic sheets
There are two different production methods for creating acrylic sheets. The sheets are either extruded (rolled) or cast (moulded) panels. This refers to the way the hot liquid material is formed into one single sheet. When making cast acrylic, the liquid material is poured into a mould and slightly rolled out into flat panels. This results in strong sheets with almost no internal tension. Contrary to cast acrylic, extruded acrylic sheets are heavily rolled until they reach the required thickness. This technique has the advantage of creating greater volumes of sheeting from the same raw material. Unfortunately, it also increases the internal tension in the material. Since the same amount of raw material results in a larger end product, extruded sheets are cheaper than cast sheets. Both versions are strong and have their own advantages and disadvantages. The internal tension in extruded acrylic sheets leaves them vulnerable when the surface is compromised by sawing or drilling. Before choosing an acrylic sheet, we recommend that you consider the project. If the project requires you working on the sheet, we would advise to buy a cast acrylic sheet. If there is no need to alter the surface of the material, extruded acrylic sheets will be a good option. We offer both versions of acrylic sheets online at Plasticsheetsshop.co.uk. To indicate the difference between the two versions, we have named all extruded sheets: cheap acrylic.
Ordering acrylic plastic: good to know
Our acrylic sheeting range includes a choice of thickness, colours and finishes. Our suppliers are constantly working on and developing new styles to add to our selection. Naturally, only the best sheets make it into our online shop. Currently, we stock both cast and extruded acrylic sheets. Keep in mind that all coloured acrylic sheets are cast acrylic and clear and opal sheets are supplied in both versions. Our acrylic sheets can be ordered in the following thickness: 2mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 15mm, 20mm, 25mm and 30mm. All sheets can be cut to size free of charge.
Characteristics of acrylic plastic
Acrylic has several characteristics that make it so popular. The most important attribute is its transparency. Acrylic sheets are 92% transparent, this is much higher than regular glass. The combination of the high transparency with acrylic’s ability to filter UV light makes it the perfect choice for windows. When using acrylic as a window, it is reassuring to know that acrylic is much stronger than glass. Cast acrylic sheets are 30 times more impact resistant and can withstand substantial static and dynamic loads. As a result, acrylic panels are often used as windows of marine aquariums and installed as transparent floors at locations featuring spectacular views. The relatively lightweight and strong acrylic sheets can replace thick glass windows. Which consequently leaves tourists and visitors with clearer, less distorted views.
Although acrylic sheets can be convenient in public areas, we don’t recommend them for fire resistant purposes. Acrylic plastic has a B2 fire rating, meaning it is flammable. On a positive note, once acrylic starts burning it will not release any toxic or dangerous gases or materials.
Cast acrylic sheets are pliable up to a certain point, this does not apply to extruded sheets. When slightly heated an acrylic sheet will bend easily and maintain its new form after cooling. A heat gun or an oven can be used to heat the acrylic sheet. Don’t heat the sheet over 160° Celsius, at this point the acrylic sheet will start to melt.
Working with acrylic sheets cut to size
How tot work with acrylic? Cast acrylic sheets are an outstanding material for DIY projects. Special equipment is not required; just basic DIY tools will do the job. With these tools it’s possible to accomplish any sawing, cutting, milling, drilling and matting. To glue, engrave, polish or bend acrylic sheets, some extra equipment is required. Bending acrylic sheets requires heat. Acrylic plastic is a thermoplastic material, meaning the sheets will soften when they are heated. To heat the sheet a heat gun or an oven is required. To glue acrylic, we offer a special acrylic glue. This will ensure with a seamless and highly durable glue joint. Acrylic sheets are more impact resistant that normal glass, however they are more likely to get scratched. Scratches can easily be removed by polishing the sheet.
Inspiration: how to use acrylic sheets
Over the years acrylic sheets have proved their worth as a replacement for traditional glass. But this versatile material has many other uses too. Due to the sheets being strong, lightweight and easy to handle, acrylic is a choice material for different construction and DIY projects. And not just in a professional setting, acrylic is easy to work with even for do-it-yourselfers at home.
The following list highlights just a few of the potential applications of acrylic sheeting:
- Terrace coverings
- Secondary glazing
- Boat windows
- Door canopies
- Balcony glazing
- Kitchen splashbacks
- Windbreaks/acoustic screens
- Shower screens
- Display cases
Cleaning an acrylic sheet
Acrylic sheets are easy to maintain with everyday household cleaning products. Dirt won’t stick to the dense surface, but keep in mind that acrylic is prone to scratching – its only downside compared to regular glass. There are ways to prevent scratches on the surface. For example, always use a soft microfibre cloth rather than a sponge or brush. And avoid using any abrasive cleaners, they will leave the surface dull and full of scratches. We highly recommend using an antistatic preservative, like Burnus antistatic cleaner. This product will prevent an accumulation of dust and make your acrylic sheet easier to clean and maintain.
Removing scratches: a crystal clear result
If you do happen to get scratches on the acrylic sheet, you can easily remove them by polishing the surface. We offer a variety of products will help do the trick. A special polish is required, for example: Xerapol or Zvizzer polishes. Xerapol is a commonly used oil-based polish. Zvizzer polishes, on the other hand, are water based. When using a water-based polish it is easy to judge the progress of your job, whereas oil-based polishes sometimes fill up the scratches and makes them harder to see. Before starting the polishing process, it’s important to clean the surface as we described above. Once it’s dry, pre-treat any deep scratches you can feel with your fingernail by sanding with fine, wet sandpaper. Put a small amount of polish on a soft cotton cloth and buff the scratch using overlapping circular movements. Clean away any smears of polish with a microfibre cloth before repeating the procedure until all scratches have completely disappeared.
A brief history of acrylic plastic
Acrylic acid was first identified around 1843, but it wasn’t until 1877 that the actual polymerisation process was discovered. This process is required to create polymethyl acrylate (PMMA), which is the scientific name for acrylic. From that moment it took another five decades before polymethyl acrylate was marketed as a commercial product by the American chemical company Rohm & Haas. They revolutionised the production process and made it affordable. They named their finished product ‘Plexiglas’, now one of the most commonly used names. Other well-known names are Acrylic plastic and Perspex.
Acrylic product names found in today’s market include Deglas, Versato, Paraglas, Altuglas, Vitredil, Vedril, Oroglass, Perspex®, Plexiglas®, Lucryl, Ispaglas, Crilux and Casocryl.
How acrylic plastic is made
The making of acrylic starts with a chemical reaction in a tank filled with sulfuric acid, hydrogen cyanide, methanol and acetone. Each manufacturer may vary the proportions slightly, but the outcome always produces a flow of PMMA liquid. This is the raw material needed for the finished product. From here there are two methods to create an acrylic sheet: pouring (cast) and rolling (extruded).
Pouring the PMMA liquid into a mould, results in the strongest version of acrylic sheets. The sheet will become a strong product with almost no internal tension. Rolling the PMMA liquid is a procedure which feeds the acrylic panels through a series of rollers, finally producing the acrylic sheet of the required thickness. One advantage of rolling the PMMA liquid is that less raw material is needed to produce the same size acrylic sheet. The main disadvantage is that this process increases the internal tension in the material. The internal tension in extruded acrylic sheets increases the chance of the sheet breaking when working on the material.