By Acrylic plastics are meant manmade or synthetic plastic materials which consist of several derivatives of acrylic acids. Most widely used acrylic plastics are Polymethyl Methacrylate which has common brand names like Perspex, Plexiglas etc.
Acrylic plastics are a highly transparent, strong material with good resistance to weathering and ultraviolet radiation. It can be formed, drilled and cut and even colored and molded. As such, it has wide use from skylights to outdoor signs and taillights of automobiles.
Just like all plastics, acrylic plastics are also called as polymers. Polymer is derived for Greek words Poly (meaning many) and Mer (meaning part). Polymers are thus made of several molecules, combined together in a chain. Several hundred or thousand molecules can make a polymer. A polymer has unique properties, different form its component parts.
The process of making a polymer is also called as Polymerization. It is like shoveling copper, glass and other material in a box, shaking the box and opening it to find a working television set.
Acrylic plastic polymers are created by using a catalyst with a monomer such as methyl methacrylate. Catalyst would be materials like any organic peroxide. Catalyst gets the reaction going but does not become part of the polymer.
Acrylic plastic polymers are found in three forms: elongated shapes (tubes and rods),flat sheets and molding powder. Flat sheets are available with Polymer sheet suppliers.
Acrylic plastic sheets are formed by a process called as bulk polymerization. In this process, catalyst and monomer may be poured inside a mold where takes place a reaction. Polymerization consists of two types: continuous and batch cell.
Batch cell is popular as it is simple and easy. It may be used to make tubes and rods. But continuous method is faster and uses less labor. It is used to make sheets of thin thickness and smaller widths as compared to batch cell method.
The processing, handling and storage of chemicals to make acrylic plastic polymers are conducted under controlled environmental conditions to prevent dangerous chemical reactions and toxic contamination.
Particularly crucial to the polymerization process is control of temperature. The temperature of the monomer and catalyst are even monitored before adding to the mold.
These are some aspects about acrylic plastic polymers.
- Published in PVC Boards