Use Plexiglass Where Ordinary Glass Failed
Glass is the most commonly used decorative design element renowned for its aesthetic appeal and fragility. The highly versatile and translucent glass is a multi-purpose design element with several remarkable design characteristics and one major drawback (i.e. brittleness). Hence, there was a dire need, in the past, for a material with the same aesthetic benefits as glass and improved shatter resistance. This led to the discovery of lightweight, high-strength, and durable glass alternative named as Plexiglass, also known as acrylic sheets.
What is Plexiglass and Why is it Important?
Made from the polymers of Methyl Methacrylate, plexiglassis a plastic material scientifically known as polymethylmethacrylate or PMMA. It is a contemporary alternative to glass with high strength-to-weight ratio, low transmittance, and a lighter weight. The thermoplastic is clearer and more translucent than the conventional glass with better and improved impact resistance. With augmented shatter resistance and flexibility, this plastic material continues to become more and more popular in the contemporary design world.
This contemporary design solution is becoming vastly popular as it holds the potential to replace fragile glass in many indoor and outdoor applications. Being a stronger, lighter, and safer alternative to glass, this thermoplastic provides the homeowners the luxury to practice creativity in design. Offering the same level of aesthetic benefits with improved strength and durability, the importance of acrylic glasscan never be ignored in the contemporary design world of today and tomorrow.
Why is it also called Acrylic Glass?
The capability of this thermoplastic to readily replace glass in various applications earned it the name of acrylic glass. Its origin dates back to the early 20th century and was initially used by Dr. Otto Rohm in his dissertation, “Polymerization Products of Acrylic Acids.” These studies led to the development of LUGLAS – A rubber-like material with high strength and improved transparency. LUGLAS was commonly used as the safety glass for windscreens and helped the world realize the potential of this new material.
However, it took a little bit more time to invent the thermoplastic now commonly known as plexiglass. In the year 1933, this contemporary alternative to glass was developed by Dr. Otto Rohm in collaboration with Dr. Walter Bauer. From this time onwards, the evolution of thermoplastic progressed at the rate of knots, making it the desired choice of many contemporary design enthusiasts.
Where should the Plexiglass be used?
Acrylic glass has a variety of unique applications and is readily used in home, office, and commercial spaces as an alternative to conventional glass. The easy installation and high-end design flexibility make it the preferred choice of design enthusiasts in search of a minimalist design option. Following are some common uses of contemporary glass alternative:
- Home Windows
Replacing window panes with stronger and more durable thermoplastic is a great design choice. These contemporary windows also allow better light transmission and are ideal for illuminating the living space. Less likely to crack or break, these windows offer high-end safety and improved protection against the elements of nature.
- Skylights with Plexiglass
The high light transmission characteristics of this material also make it a viable choice of material for home or office skylights.
- Shower Enclosures
These contemporary glasses can also be used to design shower enclosures that are safer and more durable than ordinary glass enclosures. These glasses are hard to crack and even on breakage, they don’t shatter into hundreds of sharp dangerous glass shards.
- Acrylic glass is Great Option for Greenhouses
Their translucent nature allowing higher light transmission makes it an ideal material choice for design greenhouses requiring seamless transmission of natural light.
- Use in Solar Panels
Plexiglasshas always been the preferred material for designing solar panels that are placed outdoors and have to sustain the adversities of weather. Allowing up to 93 percent light transmission, it is also a more functional choice.
- Home Improvement & Décor Projects
The lightweight and high-end design versatility of thermoplastic make it an incredible material choice for renovating and decorating the interior space. They are easy to move and maintain.
- Digital Signs & Signage
Acrylic glass is also commonly used for digital signs and signage and offers higher design versatility.
Pros and Cons of Using Plexiglass/ Acrylic Glass Instead Normal Glass
Acrylic glass has many advantageous characteristics that give it an edge over the ordinary standard glass. Most importantly, it is highly flexible and offers high-end design versatility and customizability due to its plastic nature and lightweight. Its increased strength and shatter resistance make it a durable design alternative designed to sustain damages and impacts. The thermoplastic is also more translucent and offers better light transmittance than the ordinary glass.
However, this contemporary solution does also have its downsides. Most prominently, Plexiglassis not scratch-resistant. The product initially costs more than ordinary glass but is a more economical option in the long run. Lastly, it is incredibly hard to recycle thermoplastic as compared to glass offering high-end re-usability.