Perspex is a form of acrylic plastic that starts out as a liquid and is then formed into a strong plastic. Due to its durability, flexibility and sustainability, acrylic is one of the best substitutes for glass. Over the years, the use of high-quality acrylic has expanded into several applications. Initially used to make windows for submarines and cars, acrylic sheets now have a variety of alternative uses (including construction, engineering and even photography). A durable plastic, it is versatile, cost-effective and a practical alternative to glass.
Below are some of the pros and cons of using acrylic sheets.
Pros of acrylic sheets
As it is flexible and easily moulded into any shape, acrylic is perfect for creating various products. They are an ideal product to use outdoors as they are heat resistant up to 160 degrees C.
Many restaurants prefer to use acrylic crockery and glassware as it is durable, shatterproof and easy to clean.
As it is synthetic, acrylic (i.e. Perspex) is easy to reuse. Due to the many ways you can make acrylic sheets into other things (plates, acrylic table tops, secondary glazing or shelves) it’s an eco-friendly choice.
Offers a wide variety of colours
Acrylic sheets are available in an extensive range of colours and designs. Depending on what you are using the material for, you can choose coloured sheets or you can opt for clear, acrylic sheets. These sheets are available in various styles, including frosted acrylic, fluorescent acrylic and mirror acrylic.
Dishes and glassware made from Perspex sheets has been designed to hold up against the heat of a commercially manufactured dishwasher.
Synthetically manufactured, glass look acrylic is cheaper to produce and purchase, therefore they are a great alternative to glass.
Cons of acrylic sheets
Perspex sheets melt at high temperatures or from exposure to direct flames. The melting point for acrylic plastic is 160 degrees C, so they cannot withstand extreme temperatures. Acrylic is tough and durable, but can also be easily scratched.
The manufacturing process of acrylic products can release highly toxic fumes. Anyone who works to make acrylic sheet is provided with protective equipment and clothing. There is also a risk that the acrylic could blow up during polymerisation if you don’t take the right precautions.
Difficulties in recycling
Acrylic is recyclable, however, as it’s not bio-degradable the process is not as easy as putting it in your recycle bin or taking it to a bottle bank. But you can re-use acrylic (e.g. Perspex), by cutting larger sheets into small pieces and forming them into other products.