Perspex is in all probability the most well known plastic sheet material

by Bryon Walkinshaw on Mar 22, 2012

Perspex is in all probability the most well known plastic but is in all probability better known in the UK as Perspex and in the USA as Plexiglas - both of these are brand/producers names for acrylic.   There are 2 main sorts of acrylic which each have alternative uses. Cast, this is simply pressed in between 2 sheets of a certain thickness, and extruded, which is made into a liquid state then passed in between a couple of rollers (like the old fashion mangles) The procedure of creating cast acrylic is in truth more costly than extruding, so traditionally the costs have been round 10% greater than extruded. Nevertheless they presently are similarly priced. Although both cast and extruded start off the same, the different production processes produce totally different results. Cast is stronger. The procedure of extruding puts additional strain into the substance which changes the molecular structure making it a less effect variation. Made in clear and a host of distinct standard colours, it can having said that be manufactured in any color if needed but it is subject to minimum orders.   Ideal for outdoor use e.g signage as it is somewhat solid and has good UV resistance, keeps it's clarity much longer than polycarbonate and will not react to substrates placed onto the face i.e vinyl or print. It can also be cleaned preferably with just detergent and water. It has outstanding optical properties, quite a tough surface, not quite scratch proof but is a great deal more scratch resistant than polycarbonate or petg. It can be machined, bonded, polished and formed, without producing the material to "stress". Even though it has around 10 times the impact resistance of standard glass it is by no means as resistant to knocks as either petg or polycarbonate (which is the strongest). Ideal applications - Outdoors signage, POS, greenhouse windows, splashback panels, hospital incubaters, drug mixing chambers, splashbacks.   PETG is generally a transparent product, it can also be manufactured in selected colours, although not widely used and is subject to minimum orders. IT has excellent impact resistance (around 5-7 times stronger than plexiglas but not as robust as polycarbonate). It can also be machined, bonded and formed but is very tricky to polish as it tends to yellow or burn the edges. We however, can laser cut it which offers a polished edge with no yellowing of the edge. It has a softer surface than acrylic so is usually more vulnerable to scratching. PETG is actually a very reliable product and tends not to react to most cleansing material, but always steer clear of using any solvent based products with any plastic. In it's thinnest form it is applied for manufacturing, bottles and food packaging because of it's strength and stability. It is ideally suited for vacuum forming. Ideal applications include retail displays, shelters (bus, smoking, trolley, bike) and basic safety screens (taxi, bus).   PVC is usually a clear plastic having a somewhat blue tinge. On account of it being low cost, easily obtainable and in thin gauge PVC is commonly used in goods like ticket strips.   Foam PVC as the expression implies, is a mixture of foam to give the substance it's light weight and pvc which gives it the rigidity and the properties to enable it to be bent.   A versatile material initially manufactured for internal signage as a cheaper and lighter alternative to acrylic. It can be used externally but it will expand and contract meaning it must be fixed in a way to allow for movement. Many "A" boards use foam pvc as the printed face. It comes in white and 5 standard colours but it can be made in any colour as long as a minimum order is reached.   ABS is a strong, rigid, tough and cheap plastic that is very versatile and can come in a gloss or pinsel (embossed) finish.   Polystyrene ia a well balanced plastic widely used in injection moulding, blow/injection moulding and thermoforming. Available in clear but also a wide variety of colours. A high impact version (Hips) is available offering better impact resistance and chemical resistance.

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Source: perspex sheets | Available from Acrylic Sheets Direct
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