These products can be found throughout industrial, commercial and consumer products contexts.
Acrylic plastics are characterized primarily by their optical clarity compared to other plastic varieties. At a glance, colorless acrylic plastic may be confused for glass. In fact, acrylic plastics are sometimes used as glass substitutes; this is often the case for beverage containers, windows and many other products. In addition to their qualities of optical clarity, acrylic plastics can easily be colored during their production; acrylic plastics are available in almost any color.
Like most other thermoplastic varieties, acrylic plastic can be formed into almost any conceivable shape. It can undergo extrusion, molding, vacuum forming and most other thermoplastic formation processes. Because of its versatility, acrylic plastics can be found in use in a great diversity of contexts. These include police riot control equipment, medical products, kitchenware, novelty products like board game pieces and key chains, lecterns, picture frames and even computer housings.
A variety of plastic manufacturing processes can be involved in the production of acrylic plastic products. Extrusion is one of the most common plastic component production processes, and many plastic fabricators offer it. The process involves collecting a stock of raw plastic, heating and pressurizing it and forcing it through a specially shaped extrusion die.
When the plastic emerges on the other side of the die, it is a newly-extruded plastic product. This method can be used to produce extruded acrylic rods, tubes, pipes and profiles. Molding is another very popular acrylic plastic production process. It also involves heating and pressurizing raw plastic, but instead of forcing the plastic through a die, the process involves forcing the plastic into a molding cavity. This process can be used to create more complex parts such as vehicle headlights, beverage containers and even musical instruments.
While acrylic plastic is a very popular material, it is not without its drawbacks. It does not corrode when exposed to UV radiation, but it also does not block it; some other plastic varieties are capable of absorbing UV radiation. Also, while acrylic plastic exhibits good qualities of heat resistance, it does not fare well in cold temperatures. As is the case with all plastic materials, it is important to weigh acrylic plastic’s advantages with its deficiencies before selecting it for any application.